You might already know Susan Pahnke from the many Facebook photos from others’ tiny house builds. She’s usually holding tools, lending a helping hand, selflessly donating her time and expertise to anyone who needs it. Susan is a decorated Air Force veteran, a Green Bay Packers Shareholder (don’t hold that against her!), a licensed Spiritual Practitioner, photographer and picture framer, as well as a skilled woman who builds.
She is also the most caring friend you could ask for.
Susan first came to the local Meetup group by contacting the founder, BA Norrgard. She met with BA to discuss tiny house living and was soon volunteering at events and attending and spearheading build days for the group. Susan volunteered at Earth Day Texas two years in a row, and this year at Taste of Dallas, to help maintain the massive crowds. She even stood in for homeowners to give tours of the tiny houses when homeowners needed breaks.
Susan has donated her valuable skills—gained through over 20 years in the construction industry—to many of the tiny house builds here in the DFW area. She is a great instructor, answering questions and freely volunteering her time, whatever the project. Susan is an expert at towing and parking tiny houses, too, and has offered her truck and driving experience to help others move their tiny houses, either moving them across the country or beautifully backing them into any tight spot.
Susan’s presence in the tiny house community is important and appreciated. She is enthusiastic and energetic and rallies the troops as only she can—now it’s time to do the same for her.
This year has been a trying year for Susan, just as she was beginning her tiny house dream.
One of the biggest obstacles for her has been her physical health. A Baker’s Cyst ruptured in her leg, causing severe pain and swelling, keeping her off her feet, sometimes for weeks at a time. Being self-employed, when she isn’t able to work, she doesn’t earn money. Susan has lost a great deal of income. This has been an unexpected hit to her tiny house fund.
Just as she was about to attend the National Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs with the Dallas group, Susan took another huge hit. Two days before leaving for the Jamboree, she got the call that everyone dreads—a death in the family. Susan’s brother had been found in his home. She immediately flew to Wisconsin to be with her family in lieu of moving forward with her Jamboree trip. While family comes first for Susan, she was looking forward to seeing her extended tiny house family; especially excited for the ideas she would get from the Jamboree to apply to her own build. The situation was tough and the emotions surrounding that are still very raw.
Susan is so generous and so selfless—with her country and her friends—it’s time to pay her back.
While at the Jamboree, a conversation was started with Damon DesChamp of Trailer Made Custom Trailers. He heard about Susan and how worthy she is to have her tiny house dream come true. Damon offered to help the campaign get her back on track. We’d like to provide Susan with a Trailer Made trailer, a Volstrukt Framing System, and perhaps a “barn raising” party. (If you’ve ever seen a Volstrukt frame go up, you know it’s fast and cool!)
If you have it in your heart to be a part of this project, we invite you to donate. Networking for us and making connections with folks who can make things happen would help, as well. The 1,700+ members of the DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts can spread the word through social media channels about the generosity of businesses and donors who contribute.