Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

‘Welcome home, Harley’

Cook family gets a new a home in time for Christmas

Melissa Roach
Posted 12/25/17

COOK - “I know exactly where I’m going to put the Christmas tree.” Harley Pajari and her son Liam will indeed be home for the holidays. “It’s been a long haul, we’re really happy to be in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

‘Welcome home, Harley’

Cook family gets a new a home in time for Christmas


COOK - “I know exactly where I’m going to put the Christmas tree.” Harley Pajari and her son Liam will indeed be home for the holidays. “It’s been a long haul, we’re really happy to be in by Christmas. Thank you to everyone for your help and support she said.”

Habitat for Humanity board member Cindy Pogachnik presented Pajari with a Bible and a hammer, and said, “Welcome home, Harley.” Construction volunteer crews started working on the Pajari house back in March 2016. “Sometimes it seems like these projects take forever…I told Harley when it began that it would be about a year, and told her to imagine that in about a year from now, she would have a home.”

Harley and her young son Liam had moved twice in the past three years, so they are happy to have their own permanent and sustainable home this Christmas.

The house sits on a lot that was donated by the city of Cook, and volunteer crews have been working tirelessly to complete the project. A common misunderstanding about the organization is that “Habitat Houses” are free. Pajari will still have a mortgage to pay, as well as taxes. She also had to put in a minimum of 200 hours of her time in sweat equity for other Habitat Houses, and in addition, she needed to recruit friends and family to put in another 150 hours of sweat equity. Pajari’s three-year-old son has already picked out his room, and she has already picked out where her furniture will go, as well as where the housewarming gift of a mixer will be placed on her counter, in her very own kitchen.

When asked about becoming a Habitat homeowner, Harley said, “Mostly I’m just really proud and relieved to have made it this far. Three years ago, I was up to my ears in debt, pregnant, and working four jobs just to get by. I never imagined that I’d be able to afford to buy a house, let alone build one. Yet here I am, debt-free and ready to purchase my home with Habitat’s affordable zero-percent interest mortgage!” Harley is looking forward to putting in some gardens, planting apple trees, and even getting some chickens. She is also very happy to have a quiet place for Liam to take uninterrupted naps.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity to build a safe and affordable home for my son and me. We’re beyond thrilled to have a place we can call our own.”

There are three criteria the board looks at in approving a building project: The need for a home, the ability to pay a mortgage, and the willingness to partner and give a minimum of 200 hours in sweat equity.

Habitat would like to extend a special thanks to the Cook P.E.O., Subway and McDonald’s of Cook, Zup’s Market, Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Cook Covenant Church, First Baptist Church and the Cook Country Store for their support of the project. Volunteer groups from the Voyageur Outward Bound School, Lake Country Power, Range Association of Realtors, Wells Fargo Bank, DSGW Architects and the “Tuesday Thursday Crew” from the Quad Cities joined Habitat’s “Cook Shepherds,” especially Dave Woods, Ralph Norgaard, Gary and Albert Whitenack, Mark Sherman and Don Fultz and many others too numerous to name.

Habitat’s History in North St. Louis County

North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to building simple, decent, affordable homes in partnership with those in need in North St. Louis County. Since 1995, North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity has partnered with 84 families to provide homeownership opportunities. Families are selected based on their need for housing and their willingness to partner in the building of homes. Families must also demonstrate their ability to pay Habitat’s affordable mortgage. Applications for the homeownership program are now being accepted. Habitat works through community support that provides volunteer labor to build homes and staff committees. Individuals, businesses, churches, organizations, foundations and government sources all contribute to provide funding for building materials to construct homes. Habitat’s Mission: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

To learn more, go to


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment