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87-year-old puts the ‘rock’ in Rockford Habitat for Humanity

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Inspiring 815 Ted Brolund

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Ted Brolund is as old school as it gets.

All 87 years of his life have been spent in the Rockford area.

Ted's career began at W.A. Whitney, a manufacturing company in town.

He spent 43 years with the company building machine tools, running the company for the last 25 years.

Retirment for Ted began in 1998.

It ended about two weeks later.

"Well I was on the board of SwedishAmerican Hospital. I was on the chaplaincy committee," Brolund said.

"Glen Johnson, who was head chaplan, suggested one day when we retire we should get involved with Habitat for Humanity."

Glen's urging kick started Ted's new career.

After reaching out to Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, Ted got right to work with building houses with the organization.

A role he's taken pride in for the last 22 years.

"My biggest thrill is to see a family move into the house and their kids grow up and go on to get an education," Ted said.

"It's really a good program. It's changing one family at a time."

Ted was become the foundation of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity.

As new people have come into Rockford Habitat over the years, they quickly learn about Ted and what he has meant to the organization.

"Ted is such a kind soul. He's this kind person with just this genuine heart for people," Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity executive director Keri Asevedo said.

According to Keri, Habitat for Humanity's build schedule is normally Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Unless you're Ted Brolund.

For him, work is Monday-Saturday.

Sometimes Sunday afternoon depending on what he has to get done.

"At 80 plus years old he is still working a full time job. Doing physical labor, Asevedo said.

"Ted doesn't just stand around and direct people.Ted's wearing his tool belt. He's doing the actually physcial work."

Ted's prescence has also become valuable for the younger generation.

Students at both Guilford and East High School are able to volunteer to help with builds.

It's something that taps into Ted's love for what he does just like seeing kids grow up in the homes he creates.

Seeing them learn.

"The kids we worked with, when they graduate, many of them have taken jobs in the construction area so that really been a good program for them," Brolund said.

Ted has seen the 815 change over and over again.

87 years is a long life and to spend it all one place means he's seen Rockford grow susbstantially to what it is now.

A sight he is excited to see.

"It's gone through a lot of change. The downtown is starting to revive with a lot of young new businesses there. It's a good city," Ted Brolund said.

Nothing like an 87-year-old working day and night to help others to kick off 2021.

Ted is truly dedicated to Habitat for Humanity's cause and we know there are so many others with that kind of passion here at home.

If you or anyone you know is making a positive impact in our community, you can fill out a nomination form here or you can reach out to

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Evan Leake

Evan Leake anchors for 13 News Today and 13 News at Noon. Evan grew up in Darien, Illinois, a south-west suburb of Chicago. He came to WREX in 2017 and worked his way to the anchor desk in May of 2019. He coordinates both the Teacher of the Week and Inspiring 815 series for 13 News. You can connect with Evan at or Evan Leake on Facebook.

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