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DWM Visits “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” for a Behind-the-Scenes View

The Lucas family’s new home in Prince Edward County Va. The home was constructed in a mere seven days.
One of the show’s hosts, Paul DiMeo, stopped working for a brief photo-op with DWM contributing editor Drew Vass.
One of the project’s local sponsors, Joe Gomer, of J. L. Gomer Equipment in Mechanicsville, Va., signs a shirt that will later be presented to the family. Gomer donated several large pieces of equipment to the project for the project’s duration.

DWM contributing editor Drew Vass recently visited one of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” projects in Prince Edward County, Va.

On Sunday, December 9, workers were still wrapping up a few final projects, but the home was complete. Cleaners were being rushed in to prepare the home for its new owners the following day, but warned that many surfaces were still wet with paint.

The show’s long time ring-leader, Ty Pennington, was in West Virginia at the time, wrapping up another of the show’s projects, but several other show hosts were present and willing to speak. Dawson Connor, one of its latest additions, was steadily at work, but only had one hand to offer. Following a recent injury, Connor had been ordered to wear a sling, but was still able to do his part. Fellow host Paul DiMeo steadily was working on one of the show’s secret projects, but stopped to talk briefly for a photo op and to thank one of its sponsors, Joe Gomer of J. L. Gomer Equipment in Mechanicsville, Va. DiMeo stressed the show’s appreciation to all of its sponsors and volunteers, explaining that none of its efforts would be possible without them.

ABC’s series solicits nominations for families in need of a helping hand. Respondents send in information and one is selected for each episode. Following demolition, the show’s staff puts an army of volunteers to work—around the clock—building replacement homes that would typically take several months, in just one week.

Spc. Michael Lewis of the National Guard and his family were selected and scheduled to view their already constructed home the following day, Monday, December 10. Pennington woke the family on December 3 to inform them they had been selected, then sent Lucas, his wife, Jean, and two young sons, Michael Henry and Joseph, to Walt Disney World while their new home was being constructed. Joseph, 6, has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and Jean will teach her children in the family’s new home.

Ken Broadwater Homes in Cartersville, Va., had been selected as the project’s designated homebuilder. The company’s crew was quickly expanded to more than 200 and its hours were increased drastically—to 24/7 to be exact. A local home inspector is kept on-site, to avoid delays in the tightly scheduled process.

The project presented several challenging aspects, including salvaged materials, many of historic nature. While the details are still being carefully guarded until the show is aired, Vass was afforded a few photo opportunities. No airdate has been announced, but is expected to land sometime in February or March of this year.

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