Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crews scrambling to have ‘Extreme Makeover’ house completed in next few days

Volunteers at the Extreme Home Makeover site in Ottawa give us a glimpse of the home, scheduled to be complete Saturday.

August 3, 2011


Stop-motion video of Extreme Home Makeover site in Ottawa

This is a stop-motion video of five minutes of work on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition house on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, in Ottawa. ABC will feature the home on the show Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. Enlarge video

— With about three days left to build, crews are hustling to complete the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” house in Ottawa.

Over Tuesday night, round-the-clock workers assembled the basic shell of the home.

The quick work impressed 78-year-old Overland Park volunteer Mary Alice Geise, who has helped out on the house the past two days.

“I came back this morning and here was this house,” Geise said Wednesday.

Geise, a retired second-grade teacher, and her husband attended Ottawa University. Geise said she wanted to pitch in to help an area near and dear to her heart.

“It’s very meaningful out here,” said Geise, who labored under the hot Kansas sun.

Area contractors — performing volunteer labor — rotated in and out of the project, which is scheduled for completion on Saturday.

Kevin Grob, owner of Elite Excavating in Lawrence, worked with his dad and longtime Lawrence excavator Allen Grob, digging the house foundation and pool.

Grob and his crew had to hustle, starting Sunday morning and working overnight into Monday.

“We did whatever it took,” said Grob, who estimated that they donated about $15,000 in labor and materials for the project.

It will all be worth it, Grob said, when they’ll get to see the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday. Cameras will be rolling, and they’ll “Move that Bus” when Staff Sgt. Allen Hill — injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq — and his wife and two sons are presented with their new home.

Several events related to the project continue this week, and project coordinators are still seeking volunteers and donations to help complete the house on schedule. For more information, visit


d_prowess 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I think this is awesome, but isn't a 9,000sq/ft house a bit much for a family of 4. It seems to be excessively large just for the sake of being large.

Beth Bird 6 years, 9 months ago

I believe the home is around 4500 square feet.....

Shaun Hittle 6 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the catch. It's been updated.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 9 months ago

Boy the size of this house gets larger every time I hear another story about it... I live in Ottawa...I heard originally that the house is 4,000 sq ft...but guess we'll have to wait and see...

Also heard from some area merchants that they're not really please with all the influx of has actually hurt business here...the production company has apparently been giving volunteers directions to the site that will actually steer them clear around Ottawa, and not have them go through town at all...

And all the local people are just going out constantly to gawk...I personally have been avoiding it like the plague...

Does anyone else think you'd have to be a lunatic to stay for hours in the hot, blazing sun just for a chance to maybe see yourself on a TV show?

Bryan Mayes 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is a percentage of people there for the wrong reasons, but the optimistic side of me hopes and believes that the majority of volunteers are doing it for the cause, not the 15 seconds of fame.

katjok 6 years, 9 months ago

What a debbie downer! A lot of the general volunteer shifts are from 2AM - 8AM, so it's not about seeing yourself on tv. Not to mention how many skilled workers are needed to help and their time is money!

trinity 6 years, 9 months ago

I feel you, crazy...I'm a lifelong Ottawan myself (well, still in Franklin but not in Ottawa) and I understand your points. As someone commented somewhere (I surf the 'net way too much lol), it's just hoped that those who are working/going out there are doing so for the purpose of helping out others, not for show. "look at me" type of stuff.

amrcngrl75 6 years, 9 months ago

Please get over yourselves. It takes a really big person to sit on their @ss behind a computer and criticize others while doing absolutely nothing to help. And, oh by the way, your comments tell us all far more about yourselves than anyone at the site working. Thank goodness for heroes like SSG Hill whose sacrifice protected your right to free speech, even if you choose to waste it complaining. Hats off to SSG HIll, the wonderful volunteers helping make a difference and EHM. Thank you for all you are doing to improve this deserving family's life.

journey4justicekansast4 6 years, 9 months ago

the producers of this show only care about the drama they can create,I was among the the hundreds of american legion riders that came out sunday,to help show our support for the family and the hero.heres our day:we got to the first staging area at 2pm,no water or shade supplied,got to the final staging area at 3,they had 1 easy up and 1 small cooler of water for 200 people.1 person went down at the staging area and went to hospital,my wife almost went down,keep in mind we are 6 hours from home.ok finnally went to build site,very limited shade,barely any water for first four hours.if it was not for 2 neibors who brought out water and garden hoses alot of people would have been in distress,we had four more riders go down at the build site.we found out they had us wait all that time so the sun would go away a little to make a better shot.this show does not care about people they care about time my commander sends me an email for makeover i will not answer it.they want us to come back for the reveal on saturday,good luck with that one.

Shelly Rodriguez 6 years, 9 months ago

I volunteered there one of the days and can say that everyone that I personally came in contact with (which was alot) was there because they wanted to help a very deserving family. I'm positive there have been folks there for some camera time. The day I was there, LOTS AND LOTS of water, gatorade and food in non-stop supply!!! It was a very hot day and the behind the scenes members of the show made sure they and the volunteers were keeping the construction workers and others that were out in the heat working their a$$es off supplied with plenty of fluids!!!

countrygal07 6 years, 9 months ago

This house is being built about 10 miles from my home. What does it matter what size it is? There are alot of volunteers that are sweating their butts off and trying to make a dream come true for a family. What is your problem? So many sit on here and judge people, or make remarks how the ljw makes a mistake in their column. Get a life. Noone is perfect. As far as the volunteers on the home makeover I think its wonderful we have citizens that are willing to help build, clean, or even make sure these people have water. Noone is out there for the wrong reason they are helping in some way. More than you are sitting on the computer making unwanted comments. Get a grip.

ResQd 6 years, 9 months ago

I totally agree! And, if they're doing it for the ratings, big deal, this family now has a nice home.

newtongirl 6 years, 9 months ago

My only concern with size is let's hope they can afford the upkeep of the home once the producers' utility money stops, especially in climates that get very hot or very cold or both. There have been stories of families selling their Extreme Makeover homes because of upkeep problems due to its size, which is sad because a lot of these homes are built to accommodate special needs. I'm not against the building of the home on ABC's dime for a special family, but in the past they didn't prepare the family for the cost involved in the long term. Having a dream taken away from them causes even more stress. I think they're being more careful now, though, and with no mortgage (they didn't always used to pay the mortgage off in the early years) the bills should be easier to pay.

I tried to volunteer for a home built in the plains of eastern Colorado and even though I was assigned a time slot and a task by the general contractor's wife (I worked for the local utility company at the time), when I got there not only did they not know who I was (I wasn't on "the list"), but they also never heard of the woman who was supposedly coordinating volunteers for the general contractor. People travel across the country following the show to volunteer regularly and they had an excess of volunteers. They directed me to a tent where people had been waiting 12+ hours to get inside the gates to volunteer, so I left. It was a total goat rope. That being said, they had plenty of food and fluids. Only one canopy, though, and eastern Colorado's sun is intense due to the higher altitude.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 9 months ago

The concern is that once the home is done and the production company is gone, this family may not be able to afford the home...many people who have gotten houses from Extreme Makeover have had to sell them...they couldn't afford the taxes, they couldn't afford the family said they had so many people show up afterward, months afterward, demanding to go inside and see their home, they decided it wasn't worth the hassle...they sold it...

I'm sure there are many people there who are volunteering because it's a deserving family...I'm also sure there are some people that ARE out there for the wrong reasons...there are always both kinds in this world...rather unrealistic to think there aren't...

However, for the amount of money spent on this project, they could have built four or five homes for more deserving families...

I guess that's why they call the show "extreme"...

If you want to volunteer and you weren't able to for this project, there are still many, many places in town who could use volunteers...the Ottawa Senior Center...Ransom Memorial Hospital...Hospice...Big Brothers and Big Sisters...Hope House...Special Olympics...the list goes on and on...all those folks are deserving people, too...

Commenting has been disabled for this item.