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Extreme Makeover Home Edition Features The Marrero Family

November 11, 2007 12:01 AM by Joe Blackmon

The Marrero family of Camden, NJ has been living without heat and with
insufficient electricity.  Single father Victor Marrero has five sons.
Victor also has a bad heart condition and has suffered serious heart
attacks.  To make matters worse, Victor has been laid off twice in the
last few years.

Because of Victor’s misfortune, the family is in a huge financial squeeze and living in a home that’s falling apart.  All five sons are working in an effort to help their father, but the combined income still isn’t enough. Their home has rats, holes, and un-insulated walls.  The lock on their back door doesn’t even work.  Their also only one bathroom for all six family members, and the five boys have to share three mattresses.

The Marrero family lives in a city that has the highest poverty rate in the U.S.  Despite all of their difficulties, the Marrero family actively works to make their community a better place.  Victor started a program for single fathers called "Single Fathers of Camden."  Steven Marrero, 15, works as a mentor at an after-school program called Urban Promise; Ethan Marrero, 16, hopes to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a mentor as well.

Ty Pennington and the designers, local builder J.S. Hovnanian & Sons and hundreds of volunteers and workers will rebuild the Marreo’s home in just seven days.  While their home is being rebuilt, the Marrero family will go on an Adventure by Disney to Spain.

Like with every episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition this season, there will be an eco-friendly, low-energy and recyclable resources used in the home build.  For the Marrero family’s house, all exterior products of the home will be comprised of renewable and recyclable resources.

The design team for this episode features designers Paul DiMeo, Ed Sanders, Tanya McQueen and introducing new designer Rib Hillis.  Extreme Makeover Home Edition airs on Sunday, November 11 from 8PM to 9PM ET on ABC.

Topics: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition |

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24 Responses to “Extreme Makeover Home Edition Features The Marrero Family”

  1. Jones Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Wait a minute, I’m watching this right now. How exactly do 5 boys over the age of 18 and a father not able to pay their bills? Even if they all worked at McDonalds for 6.75 an hour thats still over 1000 a month each. They can’t feed themselves with 6k a month? I think this family is just flat out lazy.

  2. Eunice Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    What happened to the 6th child & 2 grandchildren Mr. Marrero was caring for as well? I saw both ABC episodes and their was a baby girl(sister to the brothers) in his care as well. In response to the above comment I don’t believe they are all over the age of 18 years of age, so that perhaps all 5 of them cannot work & they are still minors I believe 3 are under the age of 18 which would prohibit from working certain hours & certainly limit the number of hours they could work weekly.

  3. Lisa Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    I would like to say it’s nice that you help people in need.However we are soppose to feel sorry for these people living in poor conditions,can’t work, buy food etc.Why is it that they get a house that a person WORKING making 200,000 a year can’t afford? Come on ABC get REAL!

  4. Al Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    There are certainly more deserving families than a man and sons who can jump around like what I have just seen! Heart attack; really ! We certainly can’t tell you how to spend your money but I think you should do alittle more home-work before making decisions like this last one.

  5. bbp Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    I think they were very deserving and pray and hope they will all be leaders in that neighborhod. I wish a hand would help me but you know I am always glad to see others get help or win anything that makes life worth living and God bless the builders and sorry for the loss of your Father.

  6. elizabeth Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    You have done a wonderful deed for a family in need. I really believe that this act of kindness will greatly bless this family. They will continue to do excellent things for their community in return. God bless you for what you do!!!

  7. Michelle Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Watching this family get even more than any of them probably ever prayed for was very exciting. God bless that family and everyone who helped them and their community. This show does help,and encourage people to keep their eyes open to the needs of others, and be thankful for what we have.

  8. Shana Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    What I don’t understand is that this family was living in a home with holes in the wall. How did these holes get in the wall and why didn’t they bother to fixing it? Last time I checked spackle and paint didn’t cost that much!

  9. gundergrand13 Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    I watched the show tonight and it brought tears to my eyes and yes I belivied they were deserving of this gift, this blessing because this man stood by his children when there mother left for what ever the reason these boy could have turned into gang bangers drug dealers/user the list could go on if it had not been for the love and the commiment of thier DAD to stand by his boy no matter how hard it got and them by him I wish them nothing but love and happiness and

  10. gundergrand13 Says:
    November 11th, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    I watched the show tonight and it brought tears to my eyes and yes I belivied they were deserving of this gift, this blessing because this man stood by his children when there mother left for what ever the reason these boy could have turned into gang bangers drug dealers/user the list could go on if it had not been for the love and the commiment of thier DAD to stand by his boy no matter how hard it got and them by him I wish them nothing but love and happiness and

  11. ~*~SBC ~*~ Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 9:35 am

    WOW. This show was amaising. I know how this family feels. Im an 17 yr old single mom working 2 jobs living on my own in the geto strets of Detroit. RIght now im at the libary using one of the computers, and last night i was at my moms house watching the show. IT WAS AWSOME. It brought tears to my eyes. It was so sad. I can relate so much to this family. I want to get in touch with this family. So if you guys are reading this. GOD BLESS YA and KEEP IT STRONG AND REAL! You guys are awsome, Stay in school, keep away from drugs, and help eachother out. Keep your dreames in mind and keep reachin for um. The world would be better if we al just worked together. GOD BLESS YA ALL. ~Abby

  12. Fred Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 9:43 am

    This was a very touching story. I am surprised by some of the comments above. A lot of people don’t understand how crippling hopelessness can be. It saps the motivation right out of you to do anything that might improve your situation. I pray that the Marrero family will now find the strength to sustain their good fortune. God bless the show and the family.

  13. Cara DePalma Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Camden, once known as “Murder City,” is a horrible place to have to live. There are no jobs (not even McDonald’s), terrible schools and little hope. This father is a shining example of what faith and love can overcome. His wife left him with four boys that he never once considered a burden. If you watched the show, you would have seen grown men crying at just having their own beds, something most of us take for granted daily. The dad Victor was brought to his knees with the news that his family had enough food for a year, not the flat screen TVs, not the computers, but the basic staples that most of us don’t have to think about. Hateful people with no love in their hearts will always find fault with even the best deeds of others. God bless ABC and the sponsors who DONATE the goods and services to help the families that other won’t help.

  14. D.Brooks Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    I think this family is a very deserving family.For this young man to be so humble at such a young age and also to be proud of his family with all the love they had in their hearts for everyone.When these young boys are sleeping on the floor it should make everyone want to give and not be critical of anyone.It is such an amazing dream come true for this family.Everyone should count their blessings and not worry about how big or how expensive this house is. To everyone involved in making this dream come true for Mr.Marrero and his five sons God will bless you.Keep up the good work make some more families dreams come true.

  15. ellen Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    I am always touched by exteme makeover home edition, i always wind up crying every episode, last night didnt change i cried again, but happy tears, i was very touched by the oldest son, he was very intelligant and the beautiful words he used really showed that money isnt everything! I am happy what they received! and i would love to meet them and give them all a big hug and jump up and down like they all did.

  16. Anonymous Says:
    November 13th, 2007 at 1:33 am


  17. Anonymous Says:
    November 13th, 2007 at 1:33 am


  18. Jennifer Says:
    November 13th, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    I agree with the comment about how crippling poverty can be. The whole family was deserving, and all of them so very grateful. The boy were all so grateful to have beds; sure they were happy with the “toys” like the computers, etc., but it were the beds they were excited about!

    I think it’s great that ABC has teamed up with so many sponsors so that families like this one can get a hand-up. It’s truly sad that in North America we still have such poverty.

  19. Javon Says:
    November 13th, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    It is sad to see the comments that some people had the nerve to submit. Who are you to say they don’t deserve it? Who are you to say that someone working making $200k deserves that house more. I work with foreclosures and people making $300k can’t afford to keep their homes and in addition they haven’t done anything for the community. They are no better, no smarter, and no more deserving. Its hard to raise boys in this society and have them stay out of trouble, jail, drugs, babies, and not embrace the negativity they’re surrounded by. Get over it, be happy and grateful there’s a program to help and you’re not making the decisions!!

  20. juju Says:
    November 13th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    What was missing from the show was the man’s 3 daughters. Where were they? They said the mother took off but I don’t think that was the whole story. They divorced and he took the boys and she took the girls but he had his daughter and her baby with him for the 20/20 show.

  21. Rebecca Says:
    November 14th, 2007 at 9:07 pm

    I have read the comments above and I am sure some of you will not agree with my comment and this is not directed at this family, It’s for the whole show, This show goes so over board with the house size,They could do so much more for So Many others if they Would down size and make 4 houses out of 1. 4 families could have a nice size home. I would like to see less of the Big homes and more people being helped.

  22. Maggie Says:
    November 16th, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    It’s unbelievable how some people can be so heartless and call this family “lazy.” First of all not all of them are over the age of 18; second, rent, utilities, food and clothing for 5 growing boys is not cheap. What people fail to see is we live in such a rich country and situations like this exists all over the US! We should be ashamed.

  23. Brandy Says:
    November 19th, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    This brought me to tears I am so thankful to God for this man. He has made it possible for his sons and the men’s live he touches to be the men god intended for him them to be. My prayers go out to this family because with every good deed there is a hater lurking hoping to steal your joy and get you off track from what God put you on this earth to do. I prayer their continued strength in the Lord. To the people who made the negative comments about this family. You obviously aren’t parents and have never had to live in these conditions. Don’t be fooled into believing that America is the land of milk and honey that we see on the nightly sitcoms. We talk about our deadbeat dads everyday and people condone that but when a MAN steps up and not only takes care of his boys, he takes care of a community of young men and you have the nerve to degrade him and his family because they were blessed for their continued faith and hard work. He deserves this and more. He has done a fine job. All of those young men were articulate and headstrong. No matter his situation, divorce, wife left whatever. How many men out there would not leave the whole burden on the mother to raise all their kids. How many of you or your fathers did. That’s what I thought. And to those who said Extreme Makeover can do more if they gave these people smaller homes, who are you to judge and what are you doing to help anybody. God Bless this man and his family.

  24. Jennifer Brown Says:
    November 20th, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    Lauren Runner is a 24 old single mother of her 3 year old daughter, Gwenith. She is an RN at Norton’s. She started Norton’s in June 2007. She just pasted her boards in September 2006 and has only been out of training for a few weeks. She has not worked at Norton’s long enough to be covered by the Family Leave ACT. So her position will be terminated after 14 weeks. She and her daughter will have to go on COBRA, which will cost between $800 to $900 per month. The short term disability check she receives will discontinue and will not be enough to cover COBRA, Gweniths asthma medicines, Lauren’s and Gwenith’s medical bills, rehabilitation plus the need for daily living expenses.

    This all happened on October 7th, 2007. Lauren was working 2nd shift and driving home from work between 11:30 and 12:00 midnight. She slid off a narrow country road and hit a tree. A motorist came up on the accident and called 911. While she was on the phone with the 911 operator, the car caught fire. The women’s husband and another motorist tried to free Lauren. Then the whole car was engulped in flames. Lauren was still conscious but trapped inside til the fire department got there. The firemen said it took an hour to cut her out of the car. They STAT flighted her to U of L hospital. She has been in the burn unit ever since. Her Lungs were totally burnt, one of them even deflated. They had to put a chest tube in for about 3 weeks. She has a fractured 1st vertebre. She was burned 50% of her body, approximately 25% are 3rd degree burns (deep tissue burns) this being hips, legs, part of back and hands. The nurse told her mother it will probably be two years before she can go back to work, but will probably never be able to do 12 hr shifts like she did. The doctor’s told her mother she will have trouble with movement and walking because the areas that are burnt deep into the muscle are flexible areas. They harvested the skin from her non-flexible areas like abdomen and back. They hope by Christmas she will be out of the burn unit but will then have to go into a rehab facility. She also had a brain injury in the first several weeks but prayers have answered that along with the wound infections so far. She is still fighting lung and possible more skin infections. She has undergone 7 surgeries so far and still more to come. The doctors are waiting for the skin to grow back from the abdomen and back to reharvest for the other leg. She has a trake and is still on a ventilator.

    She was conscious when she was brought into the Emergency Room, Doctor’s said the car seat melted into her skin. Her heart aches to be with her daughter. She could really use your help.

    In His Love,

    Jennifer Brown (Aunt, God-Mother)I face troubles in my own family with health in my husband and I , on disability. 1350 square foot home for 4. but at least we never had to suffer as my niece did. I prayed she wouldn’t remember her suffering and she doesn’t yet. My kids always ask can I have this or that. I say you have more than others. may not be much but we need to be thankful for what we have. God Bless


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