Toolbelt Team fixes up property

for Granton Family 


Lois Olmstead 2014


   Lois Olmstead poses in the kitchen of her home in Granton, which was renovated by the volunteer
Faith Fellowship Toolbelt Team of Marshfield.  (Photos by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

By Todd Schmidt


One happy Granton family now has a cozy home to live in thanks to the volunteer restoration efforts of the Faith Fellowship Toolbelt Team of Marshfield.

Single mother Lois Olmstead recognizes the Faith Fellowship Toolbelt Team for blessing her family with their talents, time, gas, to drive to Granton and everything done behind the scenes.

“My children, Kezia and Ethan, and I really appreciate the generosity and giving,” Olmstead said.  “Thank you for being God’s hands and feet and for being a father to the fatherless."

Olmstead said the bigger picture is the way God the Father heals broken lives. “I am truly a story of His loved,” she said.  In 1978, I trusted him as my Savior, and I have been His ever since."

The family came to Wisconsin in 2009, living in a rental house outside of Granton.  They began a church relationship at Faith Fellowship, which helped guide Olmstead through one of the most difficult times of her life.  Olmstead had been living in the Seattle area working in the pre-press graphics business.  Her mother was from Wisconsin, and the family has relatives in Green Bay, Baraboo and Door County.

She charted a path in the nursing field, which she switched to business management.  In May 2012, Olmstead obtained an associate degree in business management at Mid-State Technical College.  Olmstead is now self-employed in the customer service field and is looking to offer her skills as a volunteer.

Early in 2014, Olmstead began to look for a home to purchase rather than continuing to pay $550 per month rent.  Many of the homes she checked into were in poor condition or had problems.

“When I couldn’t seem to find one, I found that all along God was working out his plan,” she said.  “Through a truly miraculous negotiation process with the sellers, we were able to purchase a house in Granton where my children have gone to school for five years for only $14,000.”  The house, located on W. 3rd Street in Granton, was built in the 1930’s.  It features good quality woodwork.  Olmstead said the house sat vacant for over a year, but the former owner had kept it heated.

The Sunday after the offer to purchase was accepted, Olmstead asked Doug Redetzke if he knew a good plumber for hire.  “I said I would like to move into the house with a kitchen faucet that didn’t spray all over,” she said.  “Doug said with a calm smile I should check with the Toolbelt Team."

That same week, members of the Toolbelt Team (Jeff Redetzke, Joe Anderson and Tom Cole) arrived to check things out.  After touring the property and reviewing the inspection report prepared by Brian Opelt of Loyal, Jeff put a tape measure to the work Formica countertops.

About an hour after they left, Olmstead got a call from Anderson.  He said their project ideas included a new countertop and repairing the two lower shingled roofs with a steel cover.   “This is where you and your children are going to live,”   Anderson said.  “We could make this house into a doll house for you."

The love from the Toolbelt Team began to unfold.  In just two weeks, a combined 300 hours of labor were put into the Olmstead home in the form of plumbing, sheetrock repair, wood floor sanding, refacing kitchen cabinet door, painting, shoring up the floor with jack posts in the basement and installation of a dishwasher.

“Oh, how I have missed having a dishwasher for the last five years,” Olmstead said.  “What a beautiful place this is becoming because of God’s Love."

Olmstead’s parents paid for most of the materials and installation of a new furnace.  They also helped arrange financing for the house purchase.

Anderson, who recently retired as director of operations for Figi’s, said the Toolbelt Team has been officially in existence for about one year.  It is part of Faith Fellowship’s Careworks outreach program that supports the church’s local and global mission of service to humanity.

“We are living our faith,” Anderson said.  “We are all volunteers.  Nobody we help gets charged for any labor.  Our service is need-based for those who don’t have the financial or physical means to get things done.”  He emphasized the Toolbelt Team is not a home makeover service. “It is fun to watch the smiles on people’s faces,” Anderson said.  “Doing action projects are an important part of being a Christian."

They have helped people with dozens of projects, including shoveling snow, fixing roofs, hauling wood, finishing a basement and installing a bathroom.  Anderson said Olmstead’s renovation was the second largest project the Toolbelt Team has tackled.

“We probably got a little carried away on the one,” Anderson said with a smile. He said the goal is to expand the Toolbelt Team’s mission and do more projects.

We are willing to help un-churched people along with our fellow church members,” Anderson said.  “We don’t give people the hard sell.  However, we do encourage them to come to church and find Jesus."

For more information about the “Toolbelt Team or Faith Fellowship Church, contact Pastor Larry Sheehan at 715.387.6169.

Tom Cole 2014

Tom Cole of the Faith Fellowship Toolbelt Team sands a wood floor at the Lois Olmstead home in Granton.


From the Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

March 19, 2014

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon, May 15, 2014

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, May 16, 2014

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