May 18, 2008 07:32 PM by DA Southern
In a fitting end to the season, the team heads to the area hardest hit, and still affected, by hurricane Katrina to visit the Walker family to see how they could help Pastor Walker rebuild his church lost in the hurricane.
In a double mission, the team also decides to help the Usea family, a family not only hit by the hurricane Katrina, but then were hit again by a tornado that followed the hurricane.
Although it seems like an impossible task, the huge team, consisting of Eduardo, Paige, Ed, Tracy, Paul and Michael decides to build a house for the Usea family and a new church for Rev. Walker and his congregation with plenty of help.
Day 1 began at 8:17 AM with the team pulling up in front of the hard-hit Usea home to call the family out to greet the crew and Ty and the gang prepared the family for their vacation and what was in front of them. Ty told them that they were all headed to Disney World as he took the parents and the brothers into the home as the design team talked with the kids about what they would like to see in their home.
In a question that was on a lot of people’s minds, Eduardo told us that it was hard to pick one family to help in the area, but the fact that brothers, Chad and Brad Usea had attempted to make such a difference as first-responders during the time of crisis, that it made them a natural fit for the team.
Ty was shocked as the brothers took him through the home that seven people shared and saw the difficulty that the conditions had caused the family. Paige and Paul were out with the kids playing and wanted to disparately give the kids back a safe feeling once again. Eduardo was with the Usea matriarch as he saw that she had to move into her granddaughter’s room after she lost her home in the storm. Ty then took the brothers to Rev. Walker’s church to let them know that a new church was going to be the other project for the week.
The bus made the second stop at 11:58 AM and we got to see Ty yell yet again as he approached the church building that was going to be replaced. The whole congregation streamed out to meet Ty and the team to tell them that a new Noah’s Ark church was going up and, I guess, the whole congregation was going to Disney World. Ty saw the old church with Rev. Walker and determined that it would not take a lot to demo the building as it was about to fall in anyway. Ty listened as the pastor talked about using the church funds to help the community and Ty was touched at the compassion of Pastor Walker and then sent them on vacation, but just the Walker family.
Ty met the team at a church and showed them a congregation of many builders from previous builds all over the nation who had all rallied to help the team for the massive build. This was truly the most impressive build of the season as Ty manned the video cam to tell the families of the effort going on in their behalf and, not only were the home and church going to be built, but that they were going to be hurricane resistant, as well.
Not only builders, but volunteers from all over the country showed up for the project, as well. Day 2 started at 10:28 AM with the flood of volunteers and builders were seen rushing to the build sites for the demolition. It was quick and easy as the home and church both came down with ease and the builders immediately sprang to action.
Morning of Day 3 started for us at 8:12 AM but the work was well on the way as both projects were pretty far along according to Ty as he showed the project blueprints of all three projects. Paige showed the flood-protection procedures being put into place that would give the family peace of mind as Paul showed some the new hurricane-proof construction that is actually done in a factory. Really pretty cool technology.
Ed was really excited to be put in charge of the doors for the church and Ty called the team together to go and find some local heroes to come and share a good time and good food on the Extreme team. Designer Tracy Hutson found a local educator who made an effort to reunite the educational community by having schools constructed quickly and was amazed that the kids wanted to be back in the learning environment after the tragedy and invited her to the event that Ty and the crew were putting on.
Day 4 rolled around with Eduardo giving us the home tour at 11:14 AM and showed the extra reinforcements that were being constructed into the home and especially for grandma’s area of the home. Paige was knee-deep into a princess room for the young girl, Audrey, and Ed was working on Abby’s castle room. Michael quickly showed us the church progress and the sturdy construction of the new sanctuary and food bank that was attached to the church.
For some reason our Ty-larious moments have been during the credits the last couple of weeks. This week was no exception as Ty was seen instructing a local jazz band to “Pep it” up in the playing of the Jazz music as Ty led everybody in a dance around town. I think it was funnier to watch than to write about, but what the heck.
We pick up the action on Day 5 at 8:31 AM as Ty was showing us the round houses that are built to be more hurricane resistance, which begs the question, why aren’t all houses round in danger areas? Ed was showing us all of the different States represented in the build and Paige was working on a ballerina bar for the little girl’s room. Ed was seen talking to a man who actually made crosses from the wood of destroyed boats during Katrina that have been sent all over the country and decided to use the wood for crosses in the new church.
Another peak at Day 5 came with Eduardo at 3:15 PM as he toured us through the new kitchen of the Usea home as well as the living room and master bedroom. Our first glimpse at Ty’s secret project was seen as he showed us the separate space he was building for the brothers, Chris and Chad, who had moved in with the brother, Brad, and his family. He said he couldn’t show us the room but alluded that there would be camouflage colors involved which means the brothers will never actually SEE the room will they?
Ty and the gang gave the local heroes their reception and videoed the event for the vacationing family at Disney World. Ty introduced the family and the heroes to a special performance by a group called the “Ten Tenors” as pictures from the moments of the hurricane were displayed for everyone to relive.
We knew Day 6 arrived because we saw the sun rise on the build and time was advanced in quick speed as the details of the church and home build quickly zoomed before our eyes. We finally had a sense of the time of day when Eduardo showed us special water-resistant slabs used in the construction at 4:15 PM and the final preparations were being made for the arrival of the families.
Day 7 arrived with the limo carrying the two families drove up to the screaming volunteers and, of course, Ty and the design team. First up was the Walker family and the new Noah’s Ark Baptist church was revealed for all to see. “Move that bus” was yelled and the Pastor was amazed at the new structure as Ty sent the family into the building but not before Paige drove up in a new Ford SUV for the church. Ty was in for the quick tour of the new facility and, after showing the family the details of the building and the new food pantry, Ty was off to the Usea family’s build.
The limo pulled up in front of the new home and as the family poured out, the crowd immediately started chanting “Move that bus” for the second time tonight. Ty introduced the builders from twelve states to the family and then sent them into the home to see their new homestead. Ty was in quickly and sent the family into the rest of the house after pointing out the finer details of the open designed home.
The two daughters were quickly showed their rooms and, being so young, didn’t really have much to say. Next, grandma was into her little apartment-type of space and was thrilled at the ability to have her own area once again and, finally, mom and dad had a look at their new sanctuary, the master bedroom.
The brothers, Chris and Chad, were next to see,or not see as the case may be,(I know, two camouflage jokes in one post) their new private space and then lead the brothers to meet the design team for a final time and to see their new upgraded Ford trucks outfitted for fire duties.
Ty gave a final little speech about out how grateful he has to have been involved in the project in New Orleans and finally, for the final time this season, gave his “Welcome home, Usea family, welcome home” tag line as we saw the credits roll.
Photo Courtesy of ABC