Multiple Sclerosis & Extreme Home Makeover Reunite !
Posted Mar 14 2009 4:22pm
Extreme Home Makeover builds a home for an Army Veteran with Multiple Sclerosis. Thank ABC!
JAMESVILLE, N.C. Never mind that superstitious talk about Friday the 13th. For Jeff Cooper and his family, Friday may have been the most fortunate day of their lives. For the first time Friday night, the Coopers - Jeff, 44, his wife, Clara, 40, and their children, Windy, 16, and Aaron, 13 - saw their new home, built by hundreds of volunteers in this small community in northeastern North Carolina. It was all for the production of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the reality ABC-TV series. A week ago, show host Ty Pennington surprised the Coopers by coming to their door and announcing that they were about to get a new house for free. Cooper, a decorated Army medic who served in Operation Desert Storm, has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. Local builders and architects designed the new home to be more accessible for him. The one-story house has a contemporary style. It's made of log and wood veneer with an arched, standing-seam metal roof. The network sent the family to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong vacation. Volunteers demolished their double-wide mobile home and began construction immediately. "One of the biggest challenges we faced was not knowing when all of our volunteer workers would show up, and how long they would stay," said architect Jonathan White of Kitty Hawk. John Norris, president of Edenton Builders in Edenton, said his crews stayed on schedule until about midweek, when they needed to get the roof on quickly. They sent an emergency call out, and skilled volunteers responded quickly. Hundreds from the area braved the rain, cold and mud on Friday to see the unveiling of the family's new home. "I came with a friend and his girls to see if they could get Ty Pennington's autograph," said Bill Walker of Columbia. They stood behind barricades for several hours while TV production crews rehearsed the last scenes in the show, cueing the crowds to cheer. At about 7 p.m., the Coopers arrived in a white stretch limo. Pennington opened the doors for them, and a few minutes later, the spectators got their chance to shout: "Move that bus!" When the huge bus pulled down the gravel road, the Coopers saw their new home, cried and reached out to hug someone close. The Coopers toured the house, but won't move in until this weekend. No one else gets to see the interior until the show airs May 3. "I think Jeff will be ecstatic," said his younger brother, Joe, who lives nearby. "Our dad, who passed away, always wanted to build a log home, and I guess Jeff kind of inherited that wish."