On November 16, the Brown family — Jeanne, Johnnie Mac and their 12-year-old daughter, Katrina — were giving a presentation to area high school students at Seagraves High School in their small hometown of Wellman, Texas (population 300). They were telling the teen-aged audience about the dangerous consequences of driving while talking on a cell phone, texting-while-driving and riding in a car without a seat belt. Sadly this family knows the topic too well, having lost their daughter, Alex, who was texting-while-driving and not wearing her seatbelt. While Amanda Billings, Alex’s best friend since childhood, was speaking about the experience of losing her best friend, she gave a cue to the 600-plus students who then reached below their seats and lifted up cards that read, “Good Morning, Brown Family!” Then the “EM: HE” bus rode onto the football field and the design team jumped out to let this deserving family know that they are the latest recipients of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Seventeen-year-old Alex Brown epitomized the All-American girl — beautiful, smart, vivacious and beloved by everyone who knew her. Tragically her life and her dream of a career in broadcast journalism were cut short: In November 2009, she was killed in a single car accident. Those left behind include Alex’s brave parents and her amazing younger sister. Dedicated to making sure no other family suffers such heartbreaking loss, the Browns turned their tragedy into something constructive, and today they travel around Texas to local high schools with Alex’s wrecked truck on their flat-bed trailer to remind young people of the dangers of distracted driving. Their goal is simple: They want to save lives.
The Browns will take a vacation to New York City. Meanwhile “EM: HE” design team leader Ty Pennington and designers Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney and Leigh Anne Tuohy, local builder Palm Harbor Homes and community volunteers will build them a real home on a stable foundation.
The location address is: 702 Cochran Ave., Wellman, Texas 79378