On Sunday, January 30, ABC will air a special two hour episode of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ focusing on the Brown family of Wellman, Texas. The Browns lost their eldest daughter, Alex, during a texting-and-driving accident in 2009 and have made it their mission to share their experience and warn of the dangers of texting-and-driving ever since.
While vacationing in New York City, twelve-year-old Katrina Brown had the opportunity to meet her idol Justin Bieber, who appears in the clip from the show below:
Also appearing on the show to lend a helping hand are actress Emma Roberts and NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is teaming with the Marines for the ultimate call to action in Beaufort, South Carolina to honor Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Dickinson’s family with a new home. Deployed to Afghanistan on November 5th, the soldier’s loving wife and five children are fighting a losing battle to save their home. The scenario is one far too common for many military families across the nation. In his absence, their home continues to depreciate due to spreading mold and flood damage. Despite the deplorable conditions, the family maintain and model their lives in the same way their father honors our country. His wife, India, volunteers on behalf of a military support group, and his oldest children, Grant (16) and Brianna (14), both plan to enlist in the Navy after they graduate from high school to serve and protect the nation. Volunteers and local military will be on hand to lend their efforts and some good old fashioned elbow grease to the Dickinson family.
Bill has served as a member of the military for 17 years and is currently stationed half a world away from India, Grant, Brianna, Bailey (10), Isabella (8) and Sophia (1). The family, known widely for their selfless and generous spirit, are facing hard times of their own. Their home is falling apart faster than they ever imagined. When they bought the house, there were no signs of damage, but with each passing year underlying mold has continued to spread. Despite Bill’s best efforts to make repairs on his own, the list of problems continues to grow… Shoddy electrical wiring, an inadequate foundation, fire hazards, and a dining room floor destroyed by a flood. The issues continue, and Bill’s deployments frustrate the situation further. Contractors have surveyed the damage and have all come to the same conclusion. The home should be bulldozed. The environmental toxins are making the family sick and causing possible long-term damage to their respiratory systems. Now the “Extreme Makeover” team is about to embark on “Heroes at Home.”
Beginning January 10th “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will be enlisting team leader Ty Pennington, designer recruits Paul DiMeo, Xzibit, and Jillian Harris to deliver a house that will exceed the Dickinsons’ wildest expectations. In seven days they will see the ultimate challenge achieved when they arrive back from a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Local builders H2 Builders Incorporated and community volunteers will rebuild the structure and give them the key to unlock a new beginning.
The location address is: 45 Mystic Circle, Beaufort, South Carolina.
Family Who Lost Daughter to Texting-While-Driving Accident to Receive ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’
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
On November 12, Carmen and Jim Simpson and their three children were enjoying a special Southern cooked breakfast from celebrity chef Paula Deen at her restaurant, located in Savannah, Georgia’s historic district. Deen was honoring the Simpsons, along with other families, for their volunteer and charity work when the family learned that they would be the latest recipients of a home makeover as design team leader Ty Pennington and “EM: HE” designers emerged from the kitchen with the exciting news.
Just how Carmen and Jim Simpson and their three children were chosen is a wonderful story. But it could never compare to the amazing story of their son, Zo‘, a medical miracle baby who has beaten the odds at every turn in his young life. When Zo‘ was born, he was given 24 hours to live. He came into the world prematurely with a deadly condition, as well as detached retinas that guaranteed blindness. Even if he did survive, the doctors said he would never breathe on his own, much less see or walk. But Zo‘ (which means “abundant life”) confounded the experts as his eyes healed and his lungs began to work on their own. Surpassing every medical expectation and explanation, today Zo‘ is a happy two-year-old and, although developmentally delayed, continues to grow and thrive. The family feels so blessed after the miracle of Zo‘’s recovery that they continue to repay the blessing as far and wide as possible. They look for ways to serve their community and even keep a wish list of things they want to do for others. But the Simpsons, who moved to Savannah for Zo‘ and his visits to the hospital, need a home that is more conducive to his medical needs. Still, despite their current living conditions, the family approach life’s challenges with a hopeful and positive attitude.
The family also includes Isaac, 8, and four-year-old Katelyn. The Simpsons will all take a vacation to the Bahamas with Disney Cruise Line. Meanwhile, “EM: HE” design team leader Ty Pennington and designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, Ed Sanders, local builder JT Turner Construction and community volunteers will rebuild their home.
The location address is: 3905 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA 31405
There is no bigger Mariah Carey fan than the talented and charismatic Finis Gaston, a shining star in his own right in his Baker, Florida neighborhood. Imagine his surprise when the music legend came to the small town where he takes care of his niece and nephews. Finis was coaching one of his cheerleading sessions yesterday, Monday, October 18, when Carey announced to the Gaston family that they are the latest recipients of an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Finis was raised by a single mother in a poor neighborhood, where his mom also took care of his young niece and two nephews. When Finis was 16, the straight A-student and sports enthusiast tried out for the Baker School cheerleading team. After the coach saw his sky-high jump and perfect toe-touch, she volunteered to pay for everything he needed in order to be on the team. He made school history as the first male cheerleader and his confidence and sense of humor made him a school favorite. His dream to go to college and earn a degree in social work came true when he was discovered by a football scout, who offered Finis a full scholarship to Alabama A&M University.
But with just one year left to graduation, Finis’ beloved mother unexpectedly died. Although he was living his dream, he didn’t hesitate to leave college to return home and care for his niece and nephews. Family comes first for Finis, and splitting up the children to be sent to foster care was not an option for him. In addition to his job as a lunch server at Baker School, Finis is a volunteer coach for a local area girls’ cheerleading team at the Baker Area Youth Association. He has led their team to win local competitions and, more importantly, has given the girls a much-needed boost of confidence. He opened a gymnastics business called Finest Tumblers, but he had to shut down when the building was recently sold. The community lost a fun, healthy place for kids to train, and Finis lost the income that he planned to use to make his family’s home safe and livable.
Finis and his niece, 18-year-old Jasqulon Gaston, her baby boy, LaRon and Finis’s nephews, Tyshun Morris, 15 and Tyvun Morris, 8, will go on vacation to Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, “EM: HE” design team leader Ty Pennington and designers Michael Moloney, Tracy Hutson and Johnny Littlefield, local builder Heritage Homes and community volunteers will build the structure.
The location address is: 1301 Rainbow Ave., Pensacola, FL 32505
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team has ambushed the Anderson Family in Cleveland, Ohio, and is about to deliver the ultimate upgrade. The family of four have inspired their community by heightening awareness of the obstacles facing the disabled in their community. Diving headlong into their work, Andre and Jasmine have dedicated their time to supporting and counseling the disabled by connecting them with resources to help them live and lead more independent lives. Faced with some of their own challenges (Andre is blind and Jasmine is legally blind), the couple have pushed forward full steam to make Cleveland a more user-friendly environment.
Empowered by their own challenges, Andre and Jasmine have never let anything slow them down. Together they have teamed to complete grad school, run a center for people with disabilities, created a support group, and all while balancing life at home with their two boys (one of whom is hearing impaired). Despite having lost their sight after their sons, Jaison and Jahzion were born, Andre and Jasmine have rallied back and have embraced their reality. But while they continue to inspire their community, the family has hit a rough patch: Their home is falling apart around them and it has become difficult and hazardous for them to live there, especially in light of how their needs continue to grow.
On September 29th the Andersons will have some changes in sight when Ty Pennington, designers Michel Moloney, Tracy Hutson and Xzibit take seven days to deliver a “Smart House” incorporating the latest home technologies for the disabled. Local builders Marous Brothers Construction and community volunteers will rebuild the structure and give them the key to live above and beyond their wildest dreams. The Andersons will vacation in Crested Butte, Colorado.
The location address is: 5101 Anthony Street, Maple Heights, OH 44137
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team is taking the bull by the horns and heading to Tennessee, “The Volunteer State.” With their sights set on the city of Nashville, the designers are poised to honor a community that lives by the code that neighbors help neighbors. After the devastating 500 year flood on May 1st of this year, much of “Music City” was left under water, a number of people died and there was widespread property damage. At the center of the tragedy is the Lighthouse School and the family who’s been running it since 2003, the Sweatt family. The school became known nationally when news stations featured footage of one of their buildings floating down the interstate. Yet, despite the extensive damage to their own facility, the Sweatt family spearheaded recovery efforts, and to date have helped over 200 families.
The Lighthouse School and the Sweatt family are touchstones in the way that they inspire the community by lending a hand. They’ve provided shelter, food, water, clothing, counseling and myriad social and financial services. Many families had no place to turn to and no idea of what steps to take until the Sweatts offered them some guidance. Lighthouse has lived up to its name and become a beacon of hope to a shattered community, but now it could use some support too. Eight of their 18 buildings were damaged beyond repair in the storms, and their preschool was completely demolished. Their finances nearly depleted, they don’t have the resources to hire skilled labor to rebuild the school. Lighthouse has been developing young minds for more than 30 years, but now they’re faced with the brutal possibility of having to shut down the school.
The spirit of Nashville will come alive when some of country’s most celebrated performers descend on the Sweatts and the school that has touched the hearts of thousands. It’s a “Music City Makeover” when the community pools its resources to help rebuild the Lighthouse School. And for the first time ever, the family will find out how “Sweatt” life really is when they rediscover all that Nashville has to offer with the “Ultimate Extreme Staycation!” In just seven days, team leader Ty Pennington, designers Leigh Anne Tuohy, Paul DiMeo and Tracy Hutson, along with LP Building and Hardaway Construction, will go back to school and ring in a New Year!
The location address is: 5100 Blue Hole Road., Antioch, TN 37013-3709
The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” design team discovered there was a whole lot of shaking going on in Neenah, Wisconsin when they met Rhex Arboleda. Rhex is a hometown hero who has distinguished himself by locally leading the movement to banish the childhood obesity epidemic. In 2004 he created “Move to the Groove,” a dance program designed to get both teachers and students on their feet and in shape. Rhex’s award-winning dance program is currently being used in three elementary schools where health and wellness is a priority. Ironically Rhex’s own health and wellness, and that of his family, is compromised by the state of the 70-year-old home they live in.
Rhex and his wife, Claire, came to America eight years ago from the Philippines to pursue the American dream. To show his appreciation to the country that provided him a better opportunity, Rhex has committed his life to teaching. Filled five energetic kids ranging in age from 2-10, the modest two-bedroom, one bath Arboleda house is always churning with excitement. Like their dad, the children share an appreciation of the arts — CJ (10), Clarenx (8), Calix (6), Cullen (4) and Rhex Jr (2) frequently break into song and just brim with joy and humor.
On August 14th, the Arboledas got the wake-up call they’d been waiting for when Ty Pennington and the “EMHE” team, together with two-time “Dancing with the Stars” winner Derek Hough (professional dancer), Season 10′s Nicole Scherzinger and Season 7′s Brooke Burke arrived to turn their dreams into reality by giving them enough room to boogie to the beat.
The Arboledas will go on vacation to Walt Disney World, while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Michael Moloney, Paige Hemmis, Xzibit, local builder Lexington Homes and community volunteers rebuild their home.
The location address is: 770 Elm Street Neenah, WI 54956
On Sunday, the Lutz family of East Setauket, New York thought they had simply been invited to attend an afternoon baseball game between the Yankees and the New York Mets. Instead they were surprised to find out they would be the latest recipients of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” re-build via the Jumbotron screen at Yankee Stadium. In place of design team leader Ty Pennington’s traditional morning wake up call to the deserving family, he stormed the field and announced the good news just before the game.
Adding to the excitement of both the spectators and family was the appearance of several New York Yankees baseball players who were there to offer encouragement and support. Also, hundreds of volunteer workers, clad in the now- iconic “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” blue shirts, ran out from the dugout to join the Lutz family, Ty and fellow designers on the baseball field.
In an episode that will air later this season, the theme of this build will be “New York! New York!” There’ll be a Broadway-like production, with the entire blue shirt crew and design team singing and dancing while the home is being demolished. Also, during the week of the build, there will be an extravagant parade on the family’s block, complete with huge floats.
The Lutzes are another representation of the kind of family “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” aims to help by building a new home in just seven days. Unable to have children of their own, loving couple Grace and John Lutz gave their hearts to 18 adopted kids, including seven with Down Syndrome. After the couple passed away, their daughter, Kathleen, gave up her career and gladly came home to take care of six Down siblings who currently range in age from 20 to 25 years. Everyone agreed that putting the kids in a group home or institution was not an option. It was a good plan, until Kathleen suddenly and unexpectedly had a grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Her brother, John Jr., was next at bat, sacrificing his successful career as a gymnastics coach to move home and care for his sister and siblings. Kathleen’s health is now stabilized and both brother and sister care for their family as a team.
Nothing can dampen the spirits of this cheerful group. They love to sing and dance, cook and play games together. But the crumbling condition of their 40-year-old home has become a concern. The electrical wiring is unsafe, water leaks everywhere and there is mold and woodrot. Everybody in town loves this charming and special family. They’re local celebrities, and the community rallies to help them in every way. Unfortunately their home is at a point where band-aids are not enough. The Down siblings will not grow up and move away, they will not marry or drive cars. They need their home to be a safe, permanent one, with everything to accommodate their special needs.
The Lutz family will go on vacation to the Hamptons while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Tracy Hutson, local builder Alure Home Improvements and community volunteers rebuild their home.
ABC Television Network and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” have teamed up to help raise money in support of Nashville flood relief with a simple “text-to-donate” charitable effort. Some cast members from the hit ABC show are scheduled to be there to lend their support and to help raise awareness for the Nashville flood victims.
Beginning today, simply text the keyword NASH [followed by a space] and the amount you want to donate to 27138. A thank you message with instructions enabling you to safely and securely fulfill your donation via credit card will follow. The donation will not be billed to your mobile phone.
Example: text NASH 50 to 27138
Standard message and data rates may apply. There is no age limit required. All proceeds will go to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
ABC and SOAPnet have previously donated $50,000 to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to assist with flood recovery. In partnership with the Office of the Mayor and Davidson County’s Office of Emergency Management, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee ensures that one gift can impact the widest range of charitable needs in times of disaster.