Iowa Green Team renovates and donates a home to a deserving family

By Krista Van Tassel
April 16th, 2014

On Jan. 30, the Wells Fargo Iowa Green Team, in partnership with Wells Fargo’s Real Estate Owned (REO) group, donated a mortgage-free home to former U.S. Army Specialist and Purple Heart recipient Bradly Hanawalt and his family as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to build strong, sustainable communities and support military veterans. Through the company’s REO veterans program, Wells Fargo works with nonprofits Operation Home Front and Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) to identify veterans to receive mortgage-free homes and financial education.

We invite you to watch the Hanawalts explore their new “green” home and get inspired for your own possible home renovations by taking a “tour” through our video.

group military home 640 wide
In 2013, the company donated 86 homes to veterans, but this particular home was something special: It was our first “green” remodeled home – thanks to the Iowa Green Team – and it was the first home donated as part of this program in the Des Moines community. The environmental renovations not only helped keep construction waste out of the landfill (an estimated 8,000+ pounds of materials were recycled), but the Hanawalt family will live in a more ecological and economical way through energy-efficient upgrades and water-saving features.

The “green” property remodel took almost a year to complete, but most Green Team members felt it was worth it to see the Hanawalt family explore their new home on donation day. Specialist Hanawalt deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 and was injured in February 2011 when his truck was struck with a road-side bomb and his team was ambushed by the enemy. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries during deployment. Bradly is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, and is married to his high school sweetheart Carla. The Hanawalts have two children and wanted to watch them “grow up in a safe, positive environment and create traditions and meaningful memories. ” This home donation will allow the family to realize their dream of home ownership.

mom and girls military home resizeThe idea all started with the Iowa Green Team. The group knew about the REO home donation program and prepared a “pitch” to REO leadership who agreed to support the home donation and assigned a project manager. The renovation work was funded through a local grant of approximately $15,000. The Wells Fargo Housing Foundation also supported the green renovation through a Team Member Volunteer Program grant of $35,000, thanks to the nearly 1,000 hours team members volunteered to complete the environmental renovation. The Iowa Green Team , led volunteer efforts for the home, but invited all team members in the Des Moines area  to volunteer.

A group of passionate environmentalists at work and at home, the Green Team drew up a wish-list of items they’d like to see for the house. They worked with the REO team and their professional contractors to find the right solutions for their donated property, seeking ways to reduce waste and reuse items as much as possible. The final home includes many environmental features, such as:

  • Recycled and reclaimed material, including a metal roof that is 100% recyclable
  • Energy-efficient kitchen appliances, washer and dryer and water heater
  • Environmentally friendly quartz countertops
  • Retained and refinished interior doors, trim, flooring and windows
  • Repurposed/reclaimed bathroom fixtures, including a beautiful claw-foot and antique pedestal sink, that were rescued from a local junkyard and a restored for the Hanawalts.
  • Front porch refinished with reclaimed barn wood

Tell us what you think about the donation or what you may suggest for future “green” home remodels.


Tags:   Des Moines   recycling   video   volunteer   
Krista Van Tassel

Krista Van Tassel

As Community and Team Member Engagement manager for Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs Team, Krista supports the company’s 70+ Green Teams, recognizing and promoting environmental innovator best practices, and engaging and educating team members about their role in helping the company’s sustainability efforts. She also manages Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities’ $3 million annual nonprofit grant program focused on helping make long-term sustainable economic investments in local communities where its customers and 264,000 team members work and live. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, Krista worked in a variety of sustainability and marketing positions in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Krista earned her MBA in International Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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