GREEN BAY — The first-ever legacy build for Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity will honor Patrick Costello, whom Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt described as “a guy who brought people together.”
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sept. 22 at the site of the Habitat home on N. Locust Street, which is expected to be completed by February. Costello, who died in October of 2016, was a volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where he was in charge of doors and hardware.
Costello was a longtime member of St. Jude Parish, where he served on the parish council and sang with St. Jude Spirit Singers. He also served on the Family Services Committee, as a board member at NeighborWorks, was president of the Perkins Park Area Neighborhood Association and volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the Boy Scouts.
“Today, I think Patrick would be very humbled by the fact that we are doing this. He would be the first to tell you that it is not about me, but what we do together to give glory to God,” said Fr. Don Everts, pastor of the Quad Parishes of Green Bay, which include St. Jude, Annunciation, St. Joseph and St. Patrick.
Fr. Everts offered a blessing at the groundbreaking ceremony. St. Jude Parish was also represented by the Spirit Singers who performed the hymn “City of God.”
The Costello family home for the past 44 years is located on N. Locust, only two blocks from the Habitat build.
“When it came about, I don’t think that Habitat knew that we lived down the street,” said Bill Costello, the eldest of seven children of Patrick and Sue. “I think it was a little bit serendipitous, cosmic, who knows? It means a lot to our family that my Mom can be close.”
Cora Haltaufderheid, executive director for Greater Green Bay Habitat for Humanity, cleared the build with Sue.
“I did not want to put it here if it was not a good memory for her,” explained Haltaufderheid. “She said, ‘We are down the road. Patrick is in the cemetery (Fort Howard). He wants to watch over both families.’”
Bill, an architect and builder based in Minneapolis, designed the Habitat home.
“(Patrick) always had a dream that we would design and build a house together,” he said. “I feel like we did. Dad, being from Chicago and the Midwest, loved Frank Lloyd Wright, so there are elements reminiscent of a Wright house.”
He looks forward to returning to the site for construction of the home.
“I want to swing a hammer,” said Bill. “I’m a builder. Hopefully, I can bring my team from back home. Bring them to my (Green Bay) neighborhood.”
A birch tree will be placed in the front yard in Patrick’s honor.
“We had one in our front yard growing up,” said Bill. “It was symbolic enough that, when it died a few years ago, Mom and Dad took it down and actually sent us each a branch. Every family picture was taken in front of it. The tree was right in front of our living room window.”
Larry and Carla Lewis are purchasing the home for their family. Carla is thankful that she was able to spend time with Patrick.
“We volunteered at the ReStore and we just gravitated towards each other,” she said. “He was just a really good, genuine man. To be able to build this relationship in such a short period of time was awesome. Just to know that this house is in his honor and his son is the architect, what a coincidence. It is a blessing from God.
“He was from Chicago and we are from Chicago,” she added. “We are moving to Locust Street. He lived on Locust Street.”
Schmitt, among those who addressed the large gathering at the groundbreaking, also reflected fondly on time spent with Patrick.
“He gave the mayor plenty of advice,” he said with a laugh. “He was just one of those good people who I miss.”