Today, Saturday, January 14, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s” Ty Pennington and the design team traveled to Wilson County, Texas to surprise the Harris family with the door knock that can change lives.
IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Iraq have killed far too many of our brave troops. For others, they’ve marked the end of the road in their service there and, as with SSG Shilo Harris, the beginning of another long, hard road ahead to recovery. On Feb 19, 2007, while on patrol in Iraq, a massive IED struck the vehicle Shilo was in – blasting it to pieces. Shilo’s face and more than 40% of his body were terribly burned. But despite his catastrophic injuries, Shilo’s only concern was for the safety of the men under his command, and he would not allow himself to be medically treated until he received confirmation that his troops were out of harm’s way.
During Shilo’s endless months of painful surgeries, he and his loyal wife, Kathreyn, found their true calling — to help wounded warriors through the agonizing and traumatic processes of recovery, rehabilitation and learning to bravely face a life that has forever been altered. Shilo, once sufficiently healed, began a career as a motivational speaker, giving hope to others similarly impacted. Kathreyn, taking up the cause as well, began working for the Army Wounded Warrior Project. The two now dedicate their lives to giving back.
With each day, the Harris family puts more distance between themselves and the event that changed their lives. Unfortunately their home now stands as a symbol of their struggles. It cannot protect Shilo from the dangers of dust and heat, which keeps him from living a normal life and serves as a constant reminder of the devastating injuries he suffered. The family have tried everything to make the home comfortable for him, but it’s not enough. This hero, who was burned and disfigured while fighting for his country’s freedom, now cannot find respite in his own home.
The “EM:HE” design team has just seven days to build a brand new home for the Harris family while they are whisked away on a dream vacation to Landstuhl, Germany so that Shilo and Kathreyn Harris can meet with wounded warriors recently returned from the field. Meanwhile, “EM:HE” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Michael Moloney, Paige Hemmis, Ed Sanders and Xzibit, along with local non-profit organization Morgan’s Wonderland and community volunteers, will build the structure.
The build location is 674 Cottletown Road, Wilson County, TX 78957.
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.
Earlier today, October 19, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to tornado-ravaged Joplin, Missouri, to celebrate its 200th episode in historic fashion. The show surprised an unprecedented seven families with the door knock that changes lives; the “EM:HE” design team and many others will rebuild 7 homes in just 7 days. This episode will air later this season on ABC.
On May 22, 2011, a catastrophic tornado ravaged the town of Joplin, killing approximately 160 people and destroying nearly 8,000 homes. Some of the Joplin families lost friends, some lost children, and all lost their homes. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will take on its biggest build ever – 7 homes for 7 deserving families by 7 different designers. On hand today was “Good Morning America” Weather Anchor Sam Champion, broadcasting live from the door knock with the Howard Family. “GMA” will keep viewers apprised of the progress on the build this week and next, and, in a first for “EM:HE,” will air one family’s reaction — the Howards’ — to their new home’s “reveal” live on air next Wednesday, October 26 between 7:00 am – 9:00 am ET.
The parents and children from all seven of the Joplin families have been whisked away on a dream vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney and Tracy Hutson, along with Sam Clifton from Millstone Custom Homes — who is lead builder for 21 builders — and approximately 10,000 volunteers and community members build the structures.
The build location is 2402 Connor Ave. Joplin, Missouri 64804. These are the stories of the seven families:
The Howard Family – Kyle Howard, the father and a Joplin fireman, was at work at the fire station during the storm and spent the first two hours after the tornado not knowing if his wife and kids had made it out alive. He made many stops along the way home through the rubble, rescuing trapped victims and tending to injured members of the community. Meanwhile Jill and their children, Konnor, Korbin and Kaleb, huddled in a closet. A door landed on top of them, which they used to deflect the debris. This ultimately saved their lives. After the storm, they had no idea if Kyle was alive, but eventually the family, along with eldest son Keenan, who’d been out of town at the time, were reunited. Jill sustained minor injuries, but their home was completely destroyed.
The Nevins Family – Kari and Justin Nevins love Joplin, and prior to the tornado their home was known as “the neighborhood’s house,” where kids could play, have refreshments and hang out. Kari is part of Bright Futures, an organization whose goal it is to increase graduation rates through teaming with businesses and faith-based partners to provide for the needs of students. Karin and Justin, along with their children, Uriah, Avery, Cana and Rhoen, ran to the cellar during the tornado. As they huddled together, they felt its brute force as it ripped apart their house. After making sure his family was safe, Justin immediately started helping others by searching and digging neighbors out of the destruction. The tornado not only destroyed their home, it destroyed the entire neighborhood and the school Kari had worked so hard for. The Nevins are now staying in a rental home 17 miles outside Joplin, but want to come back.
The Cogdill Family – Single mom Crystal Cogdill works for the Joplin Housing Authority. She has a passion for helping people find housing, but in a cruel twist, now finds herself homeless. In the tornado, Crystal lost her 9-year-old son, Zach Treadwell. Upon hearing the sirens, she hustled her kids inside the house and, following her emergency plan, huddled with them in the bathtub. As the home came apart around them, she felt her grip on her children weakening. The storm eventually overpowered her and ripped the kids from her arms. When she next saw Zach, his lifeless body was pinned beneath a utility pole. Stunned, Crystal is joined by her friend, also named Crystal, and the two soon make a horrifying discovery — both of them have lost children to one of the most devastating weather events this nation has ever endured. Currently Crystal Cogdill lives with friends, in the process of starting over.
The Whitely Family – Before the storm, Crystal Whitely was the ultimate single mother, taking care of her three kids and working as a personal care aid. Crystal loved working with her elderly or disabled clients, but her kids were her life. The night of the storm, the whole family took cover in the bathtub, but moments later the house was pulled off its foundation. Though she tried desperately to hang on to them, 10-year-old Shante and 6-year-old Trentan were ripped from her arms. Only Crystal and her 4-year-old daughter, Keana, survived.
The Walters Family – In 2006 Tom and Emily Walters bought a house with dreams of raising their family in the beautiful, small town of Joplin. Emily is a nurse, and Tom a coach and teacher. Together they dedicated their lives to helping and nurturing the happiness and well-being of others. When the siren sounded on May 22nd, the family didn’t realize what was coming their way. It started hailing and then, all of a sudden, it got worse. The Walters ran to the bathtub. Huddled together, they felt the roof rip off and objects hurlting around, as 9-year-old daughter Chloe cried out to her mom and dad, “Don’t let me die!” Feeling helpless, all Tom and Emily could do was pray with Chloe and ride out the storm. As soon as it passed, Tom and Emily knew people in the neighborhood would need help. After making sure their daughter was safe with a neighbor, they ran down to a nursing home that had caved in and began digging people out. Tom and Emily helped rescue several people. Since that day, with their home destroyed and unable to be rebuilt, they’ve moved from place to place.
The Nguyen Family – Thang Nguyen (pronounced “win”) came to the U.S. in search of the American dream. Thang was in the Vietnamese Air Force and fought alongside the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Afterwards he was able to move to the U.S. with his family and took a job with General Mills in Joplin. He was on the verge of retirement when the May 22nd tornado took away his dream. That Sunday night, Thang had a craving for seafood; though his wife, Tiffany, had already prepared dinner, Thang convinced her to go out to eat at a local seafood restaurant. It was lucky for them that she gave in. The tornado missed the restaurant but tore their home apart. Had they stayed in that night, they might not have survived. The Nguyens had been living with Tiffany’s daughter, Sara, and their granddaughter, Alex. They received help from a local church and are now living in an apartment funded by insurance. However the lease will be up in December, and Thang and Tiffany will be left with no place to live.
The Gonzalez Family – Having both been divorced, Natalie and Scott (who live with Natalie’s son, Augie) didn’t think they would remarry. But when the tornado took their home, they changed their minds. Before moving to Joplin, Natalie had lived in California and once saw a special about earthquakes, from which she learned that putting a bicycle helmet on your child’s head could save his/her life. When the tornado hit in Joplin, the family huddled in their bathtub, with Scott on top holding on to a mattress and Augie wearing a bicycle helmet. The roof flew off, and suddenly the Gonzalez family was facing the full brunt of the tornado. Scott was lifted up, then thrown back down in the bathroom. A toilet from the second bathroom flew through the air and hit Augie; the helmet he was wearing was shattered, but it saved his life. Natalie was pelted with debris while trying to protect her son, and her back was severely hurt. While Scott was up in the air, he watched his family below. It was at this moment he realized that, if they all survived, he wanted to marry Natalie and become a legal stepfather to Augie. When the wind calmed briefly, Natalie realized they were in the eye of the tornado, that their house was gone and that they wouldn’t survive the second wave, so the family rushed over to a drainage ditch to find cover. Watching Scott carry her son with his good arm (the other suffered a compound fracture), Natalie knew Scott would be her husband. They survived the tornado, broken and without a home, but their family had grown stronger and closer. Scott proposed to Natalie a few weeks later, and now they want to start over. The Gonzalez family is currently living in a rental outside of town, but they love Joplin and plan on driving Augie back for school.
“EM:HE” is produced by Endemol USA, of Endemol Holding, and executive-produced by Brady Connell & George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America.
Each week fans of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” tune in to watch Ty Pennington and his design crew build new homes for people in need. With each new challenge, the team conquers unexpected obstacles and is always forced to dream up new creative solutions.
With that spirit in mind, ABC.com and show producers are launching a new “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” Facebook social game, where players can build virtual homes for actual families from each week’s episode, or work with an almost endless supply of fictional scenarios in order to play as often as they want.
In the game, players are presented with their choice of families and the specific design challenges they require. For instance, they may need an air purifier for an asthmatic, wheelchair access or extra counter space for an aspiring chef. Once players have decided, the fun begins! They’re given volunteers and their pick of design elements, including everything from the house shape and floor plan to wall decor, flooring, appliances, recreational items and more. Tastes range from the eclectic to the modern, from the traditional to the unexpected. Those who really want to flex their creative muscles can access even more design features and more volunteer help using Facebook Credits.
Players progress in the game by earning “Hearts” to level up. Bonus Hearts are earned when players quickly finish the floor plan and incorporate the family’s needs.
Finished floor plans are saved in a “Scrapbook” that can be shared and rated between friends.
Each Wednesday, the family featured in the upcoming episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will be added to the game, giving players a sneak peek at who the family is and what their special needs are. Artwork based on real family photos will also be available. Players who reveal the family’s new house before the show airs get bonus “Hearts and Levels” points.
“This game gives the show fans a way to interact with ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ all week long, and to look forward to the episode airing each Sunday, where they can see how the REAL work by Ty and crew compares to their own work,” said Tina Hoover, VP Social Media & Interactivity, Endemol USA.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” airs Sundays at 8:00 p.m., ET. It’s produced by Endemol USA, of Endemol Holding, and executive-produced by Brady Connell & George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America. This program carries a TV-PG parental guideline.
Earlier today, August 4, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Columbus, Ohio to surprise a family with the door knock that can change lives. Christmas is coming early to the hard-working, loving, joyous Rhodes family – a tight-knit family who have lived in their neighborhood for more than five generations. The Rhodes have always put family first. So when Grandpa James and Grandma Jackie’s (also known as the neighborhood’s beloved “Big Momma”) adult daughter, Makia, was diagnosed with a potentially deadly brain tumor, making her unable to work and in need of daily care, they did not hesitate to take Makia and her kids into their 941 square foot home.
Now there are seven people living in this small dilapidated home, and although Makia has made progress, she’s still experiencing mental delays and difficulties – so she relies on her parents’ support on a daily basis. Despite the incredibly cramped quarters and almost uninhabitable living conditions, the Rhodes family still manage to exude joy, laughter and love in an inspiring example of family devotion and sacrifice.
The “EM:HE” design team has just seven days to build a home that’s larger, safe and whose beauty reflects that of the family living within. The Rhodes family have been whisked away on a dream vacation to the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Michael Maloney, Tracy Hutson, Sabrina Soto and local builders P&D Builders, Ltd., as well as community volunteers, build the structure.
The build location is 1507 Dewey Avenue, Columbus, OH 43219.
Yesterday, July 31, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Ottawa, Kansas, to surprise the Hill family with the door knock that can change lives. Staff Sergeant Allen Hill was almost killed by a massive roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. He has recovered from the physical wounds, but is still haunted by injuries that we can’t see. Environmental triggers such as loud noises, dimly lit spaces and long hallways can bring about episodes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some of these episodes are particularly dangerous, as they can send the Sergeant running for cover; one of his family’s greatest fears is that he will run into the street during an episode and be killed. The Sergeant has just completed years-long inpatient PTSD treatment far from home, and is ready to return. Unfortunately, environmental triggers abound in his former home: The house he once lived in is near a rock quarry, where there are constant dynamite blasts, and there’s a train yard that is a perpetual source of terrifying noises and vibrations. For Sergeant Hill to be reunited with his family, he needs a new home — one built in a suitable location.
Oscar-winning actress Glenn Close personally nominated the Hill family for this “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode. She founded a non-profit organization, Bring Change 2 Mind, when her sister was struggling with bipolar disorder; the foundation educates and raises awareness about mental illness and offers support both financially and emotionally for families who suffer from mental illness, including PTSD. Close has been heavily involved in the Puppies Behind Bars program, which employs prisoners to train service dogs for wounded vets. Sergeant Hill’s new service dog from Puppies Behind Bars, Frankie, has helped him make significant strides toward wellness and has become his lifeline.
Bring Change 2 Mind sourced an appropriate piece of land and has helped arrange its donation for the Hills’ new house. Now the “EM:HE” design team has just seven days to build that brand-new home. The Hill parents and their two sons have been whisked away on a dream vacation to Yosemite while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington and designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Ed Sanders and Johnny Littlefield, as well as local builders M.A.C. Corporation and Canyon Creek Construction, LLC and community volunteers, build the structure.
The build location is 11 Wheatland Dr., Ottawa, KS 66067.
Earlier today, July 14, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina to surprise a family with the door knock that can change lives. The paratrooper team from the U.S. Army and service men joined “EM: HE” host Ty Pennington and the gang to surprise the Marshall family at The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House. Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy Veteran, is fighting to end homelessness among her fellow female veterans. Barbara became passionately committed to her cause when she noticed that so many of our troops were living on the streets after risking their lives to protect their fellow Americans. Instead of just complaining about the situation, this formidable, no-nonsense woman decided to take action and established The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House, using her own money.
Jubilee House offers shelter, support and services such as mentoring and life coaching to homeless female veterans. Along with housing three women veterans and their children, the Jubilee House works with over 30 homeless women veterans seeking assistance each week. The House serves as an extended family for the women – as with many experiences while serving in the military, they form tight bonds with each other through their shared experience and mutual support. Unfortunately, Barbara can only do so much — Jubilee House needs additional space and resources to continue their work with the women. Barbara would like to live in the house so she can help the women in every aspect of their lives as they get back on their feet. She’d also like her son, who is developmentally delayed, to have a place in which he can thrive. Barbara’s life is dedicated to these women… they are her mission, her family, her passion. Her dream is to someday end homelessness among female veterans, while honoring these brave women who’ve sacrificed so much for our country.
The “EM:HE” design team has just seven days to build a brand new Jubilee House for the Marshalls and the homeless female veterans it supports on a daily basis, a new facility that can house multiple families and act as a resource center for the female veterans who walk through the doors each week. The Marshall family and Jubilee House residents have been whisked away on a dream vacation to Walt Disney World, while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, John Littlefield, Sabrina Soto and local builders Blue Ridge Log Cabins, as well as community volunteers, build the structure.
The build location is 120 Langdon Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301
Yesterday, July 10, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Madison, Georgia, to surprise the Rucker family with the door knock that can change lives. Anaiah Rucker is a smart, fun, athletic, sweet, straight-A student with the dream of attending Harvard and becoming a doctor or lawyer, though she will be a fifth grader this fall. That dream was threatened on February 4, 2011 when Anaiah, then just 9 years old, saved her 5-year-old sister, Camry, by pushing her out of the path of an oncoming truck. Anaiah was struck herself, leaving her with massive, life-threatening injuries. Undaunted by these injuries, she has endured the amputation of her left leg and grueling rehab to get her body back in shape so she can continue playing sports, singing in the chorus, and working hard at her studies. Happy to have her best friend and sister Camry safe and sound, Anaiah and her family are focused on her getting well and making her stronger than ever, which is a challenge because she is currently wheelchair bound.
Loved by all who know her, Anaiah has been showered with affection and support by her small town community of Madison. The town has rallied around this heroine, helping her family in any way they can. Kids at school have sold “bottle cap” necklaces, community groups have had barbecues and perfect strangers have given Anaiah a helping hand and well wishes. Her story has been heard “’round the world” as celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Dwight Howard have reached out to her. Despite many challenges, the family is tighter than ever, and mom Andrea is grateful that both of the daughters she adores are still here. Although they have few resources, they still retain a positive, upbeat, inspiring attitude.
Andrea loves kids – she says her two beautiful daughters are her “whole life” – and despite her time limitations, she extends that love of children by volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club. This affords her more time with her girls, as well as letting her get to know the kids in her community. Andrea would love to establish programs at the Boys & Girls Club for mothers and mentoring programs for young girls.
The EM:HE design team has just seven days to build a brand new home for Anaiah and her family, one that is safe, secure, ADA-accessible and free of obstacles, where the girls can continue to study hard and pursue their dreams. The Rucker family has been whisked away on a dream vacation to Walt Disney World, while “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, designers Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney, Xzibit, and local builders Pilot Homes and Smart Properties, as well as community volunteers, build the structure.
The build location is 1000 Churchill Ave, Madison, Georgia.
The series is produced by Endemol USA, of Endemol Holding, and executive-produced by Brady Connell & George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America.
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.
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