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“It’s Not About Me,” A Long-time Volunteer Perspective & Tribute

“It’s Not About Me,” A Long-time Volunteer Perspective & Tribute

Although Karin O’Connor stated “It’s not about me, it’s about the whole community coming together to make a difference,” this article is actually about Karin. On February 16th, 2024, Karin passed away alongside her beloved husband, Curt J. O'Connor. As we mourn the tragic loss of the O’Connors, we want to express our deepest gratitude for the contributions Karin made over the past 17 years as a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

Karin was introduced to volunteering with Habitat through a group build day when she worked for Allina Health back in 2007. Following her group build day, she attended the coinciding home celebration Home celebrations are a way to celebrate the community that came together to make a Habitat home happen. These events stand as an opportunity to welcome homebuyers to the wider Habitat for Humanity community after they have purchased their house. For Karin, attending this celebration was inspiring; she had to get involved. She asked the person next to her, “Where do I go to sign up?”, that person was Twin Cities Habitat then-President and CEO Sue Haigh, who happily provided Karin with the information needed for her to get involved.  

Soon after that day, Karin joined the Events and Dedications Committee (now called the Celebration Committee).  Karin took up the role of emceeing at Habitat home celebrations.  She led the program where families, volunteers, donors, and supporters came together to celebrate the new home with grace and gusto. “I love to talk, and I love to watch families come together to see their hopes and dreams realized” shared Karin during a previous interview.

In addition to emceeing home celebrations, Karin used her skills from working at Allina to teach classes on health and safety. These educational classes for first-time homebuyers covered a variety of topics related to homeownership.  A quote recorded from Karin in 2015 speaks to her enjoyment of the cause, “I love cake, and being able to lead a homebuyer class is definitely the cake. Being the Emcee at home dedications is the highlight of my life, it’s the icing on the cake.”

Thank you, Karin, for your dedication to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity families. We are honored and deeply touched to have been a part of your generous life. The impact you have made on our community will be felt for years to come. If you ever had the privilege of volunteering alongside Karin consider writing a message to her friends and family

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