November 11, 2007 10:39 PM by Joe Blackmon
Written By DA Southern. Camden, NJ is the next stop for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Bus
of Hope, holding Ty, Paul DiMeo, Ed Sanders, Tanya McQueen and new
designer, Rib Hillis as we find Ty and the gang playing games at a
carnival before heading to the family’s home. As they head to the New
Jersey home of Victor Marrero and his five sons, Ty and the crew watch
the video that holds the seeds of misfortune that has befallen the
Twelve years ago, the mother walked out on the Victor and the boys leaving Victor to hold the family together in an area known for poverty and drugs. With a drug trade that is rampant in the city of Camden, NJ, the family decided to try to make a difference where they were even though the conditions of the town were less than inviting. As with all Extreme families, they are not ones to dwell on their misfortune and usually are involved in some community program that seeks to edify the community in which they reside. The Marrero’s are no different with Dad, Victor, who has had two heart attacks, leading the charge by starting a program, "Single Fathers of Camden" that seeks to make a difference in an area with its share of people who are in financial need. The Extreme crew could probably spend an entire season here in Camden, alone. Even Marrero son, Steven, is involved in a mentoring program called Urban Promise and has inspired his brother, Ethan to become involved as well.
Day One: Ty excites the design team to give the family a hand and the bus pulls in front of the house and Ty softly implores the family to graciously exit their dwelling and to visit with them in the front of the home for some polite conversation. OK, Ty was much more excited than that, but to see the Morrero’s pour from the home was heartwarming. You could tell how much they knew their lives were about to change.
Designer Ed Sanders was retrospect in a sidebar when he said how much he admired Dad, Victor, and how he had kept the family together in tough times. Ty took Victor into the house to see the rental as Tanya talked to the sons about the relationship with their Dad. This is one of the first times we have seen a rental home as a project because of the issue of getting land for a build. Victor took Ty around and showed him the abysmal conditions of the rental. Windows were out and none of the boys had mattresses to sleep on. Of course, the house itself was in shambles and it was hard to believe the conditions of the home.
Ty announced that the family was headed to Spain and as they family was whisked away, Day Two found the J.S. Hovnanian & Sons builders and what looked to be a cast of thousands, marching down the street to begin a different kind of demolition. Since the house was a rental, the only thing demolished was the family’s belongings. Ty had a huge grinder placed in front of the home and as he said "Say Hello to my little friend", he weld the video camera to show the family their old furniture and other belongings shred into a million pieces as the family lounged in Spain.
Since their was no house to demolish, the builders and the design team had an official "groundbreaking" of a donated piece of land for the family from the "Urban Promise" organization. Urban Promise also donated two rooms for Victor’s group, "Single Fathers of Camden", to give them an opportunity to grow the group.
Day Three found the house pretty well framed in and Tanya showing us the house being sided with a renewable resource that would not have to be painted for fifteen years. Ed had some of the volunteers prepare the new office space for Victor’s group and the frenzied pace and quick scenes of the house being completed.
On Day Four, Ty called Tanya and Paul over to talk about the St. Jude organization that helped the Morrero family so much when they needed food. Ty asked that Paul and Tanya to talk to Laura at the pantry. Paul and Tanya went to the pantry to tour it with Laura and were shocked how sparse the pantry was. A Tyson Foods semi pulled up and the designers announced that Tyson had donated 40,000 lbs of food as well as freezers to store the food for the pantry.
Day Five had Rib showing the room he was building for Steven and Jonas and Tanya’s project for Josh and Ethan had beds that were some cool bed and storage units combined. Paul was deeply involved with the production studio theme he was creating for Billy Joe and TY, well, he was everywhere.
We found Ed with many of the Dad’s that Victor was helping with his organization in front of Sears and gave them each a $500.00 wishcard for the Dad’s to use for themselves and their families. A touching scene had Ed talking to some of the Dad’s about the influence that Victor had on them and they all were grateful for Victor and that he was always willing to listen to them. Perhaps the most touching scene from Day Five was the Father of the Hovnanian’s, who had built the company, signing a piece of trim going into the family’s house. What made the scene so touching was that, at the end of the show, the show was dedicated to the father, as he had passed since the filming.
As I am always shocked to see a huge house being completed in six days, at 3:33 pm Ty announced that the house was done and that it was time to get the furniture moved in. In a sidebar, Ed said that Urban Promise was really the unsung heroes of the build as they donated land and office space to Victor and saw that they had seen the need to give back to the community. The builders, Steven and Peter Hovnanian spoke of how touched they were to be involved in this project and how they were personally affected by the project.
Probably one of the biggest Day Seven’s ever had the family coming home to greet Ty in front of the new office space at the Urban Promise office. What was interesting was to see how the family greeted Ty. The excitement the boys and Victor had was as genuine as I have ever seen on the show and you could tell that they were truly touched at the outpouring of the community. Ty announced that he had a special gift with the new office space for Victor’s group. The large two room area had a formal meeting area for the Dad’s and a room for the kids of the single Dad’s to relax as the Dad’s met.
Ty then had the single Dads from the group greet Victor in the office space and then Ty announced that they were going to the new house. Ty hoped in the limo with the family and they headed to the new house. As the family got out of the Limo, once again they were moved by the community that had gathered. Ty pretty much immediately asked if they wanted to see their house and the favorite, "Move That Bus" statement was heard. One of the most touching statements made by Victor in a sidebar was when he said, "I didn’t see a house. I saw a life for my boys and for me."
Ty told them to go see their house and the family walked into the house to see Victor overcome with joy as he and the boys looked around the spacious first floor of the home. Ty came in and again was immediately mauled once again by the boys. Ty told them to go see their rooms, and what struck me more than anything was the excitement that each of the boys experienced by just having a bed to sleep on. Of the rooms, the coolest was the room Paul did for Billy Joe. It had a full production studio for Billy Joe to make music and the equipment "sic" as Billy Joe said to Ty. Victor’s room was a tranquil space that had an interesting sitting area that I had not seen in a room before and you could see that Victor was overcome with gratitude.
The final segment had Ty showing Victor and the boys the room that was his pet project for the week. Ty called it "The Lion’s Den" and it was a room full of electronics and oversized seating for the men to hang out in. Ty told the family to come outside to meet the designers and as the family exuberantly greeted them all, Ty gave his signature expression, "Welcome home, Marrero family, welcome home."
The most amazing aspect of all of the Extreme Makeover productions are the amount of other organizations who usually benefit because of the family that is being helped by the Extreme team. The next production is a special two hour show in two weeks that will showcase many of the families who had been helped in the past, so it will be great to see those who have been helped give back.