Earlier yesterday, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Smithville, Texas to surprise a family with the door knock that can change lives. “EM:HE” host Ty Pennington and the team of designers surprised the Zdroj family. When the largest wild fire in Texas history hit the area, many homes, including the Zdroj family’s, went up in flames.
It was fitting that the Zdroj family settled on a property next to The Heart of Pines Volunteer Fire Department. Mizzy Zdroj had long dreamed of being a firefighter just like her hero, her grandfather. The family practically lived off of the land, growing their own food and trying to live a “green” lifestyle. Mizzy kept a small art studio in a camper on the property. She made money by selling the dolls she crafted by hand.
A small wildfire in the area quickly raged out of control – eventually becoming what would be known as the Bastrop wildfire, a fire that consumed more than 34,000 acres, the largest wildfire in Texas history. While Mizzy Zdroj and other unpaid heroes from the volunteer fire department fought the flames, more than 1,600 homes, including the Zdroj family’s, burned to the ground. The family not only lost their house and belongings, but Mizzy’s livelihood as well when her farm and art studio went up in flames.
Currently, 71% of all fire departments nationwide are volunteer fire departments. These volunteers risk their lives just like the heroes who get paid, but they often use old gear or gear they purchased themselves.
It’s usually firemen who are giving back to their communities through toy drives and food distribution during the holidays. THIS year, “EM:HE” will give America’s Bravest the biggest Christmas gift ever – a new home for the Zdroj Family and a dream renovation for the Heart of the Pine Fire Department.
The “EM:HE” design team has just seven days to build a brand new home for the family, who have been whisked away on a coast to coast Christmas Vacation — first to New York for a Christmas celebration, then off on a big surprise visit to a very special location on the west coast. Meanwhile “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, John Littlefield, Jeff Dye and local builders EFC Custom Homes, as well as community volunteers, will build the structure.
The build location 674 Cottletown Road, Smithville, TX 78957.