BEAVERCREEK, OH – Hollywood descended on Greene County this week as ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition made another family’s dreams come true by providing them with a brand new house. The Emmy Award-winning reality show featuring host Ty Pennington is entering its 7th season.
The Beavercreek home of the Terpenning family, 548 Carthage Dr., was chosen for the makeover out of hundreds of applicants and they received the news early Thursday morning, July 31. After filming the famous “Door Knock” sequence, the Extreme Makeover production staff met with the family throughout the day to finalize plans for the project.
Later, hundreds of volunteers gathered up the street from the home for the “Braveheart Walk.” After a couple of takes to get the perfect shots in the can, James Terpenning and his family climbed aboard a limousine and were off to a Disney World vacation thanks to Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
Terpenning works in civilian technical support at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He grew up in a wheelchair having been crippled by polio during infancy and abandoned by his American G.I. father in Vietnam. Growing up, he was competitive in wheelchair sports and eventually represented the United States at the Paralympics, where he earned both gold and silver medals.
Today he and his wife, Shannon, are raising their four children, Josselyn, age 6, twins Justin and Jacob, age 2, and Joshua, who is 1 year old. The couple also cares for James’ adopted brother, Peter, who is also confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy. Peter was left in a group home after his mother died, but came to live with his brother three years ago. The entire family was crammed into a 1,100 square-foot home.
Terpenning may have had to deal with adversity, but he also does what he can to give back to his community. He spends much of his limited free time as a speaker, visiting schools and other civic organizations and educating children, teens and veterans about living with special challenges. The Terpenning family was nominated for the Extreme Makeover by Col. Sue Busler (Ret.), who worked with James at Wright Patterson Air Force Base for 7 years.
“He is just an all around nice guy, super honest, and has all kinds of integrity, does everything with passion and he is a wonderful family man,” Busler said. “He serves his community, he serves the military (as a civilian) and he serves his family. He is a wonderful human being.”
Before retirement, Busler worked for Lt. General John Hudson, who also knows the Terpennings well. Hudson is the commander of the aeronautical systems center at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. “More than 30 years ago the Air Force air-lifted James from Vietnam as an infant in what was called Operation Baby-Lift and brought him to the United States,” said Hudson.
“James works for us in the command section of the aeronautical systems center, there’s nothing he can’t do,” Hudson continued. “He is a fantastic person at work and is an inspiration to us all. He comes in nights and weekends and he gives much to our United States Air Force.”
The producers of Extreme Makeover Home Edition work with more than 1,500 volunteers from local builders to support staff and suppliers who donate materials and labor to the effort. The family and their belongings are removed and the original home is demolished and replaced with a new house.
In addition to providing a new home for one fortunate family, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Coventry Fine Homes also support three local nonprofit organizations during the project. The Foodbank, Community Blood Center and Life Connection of Ohio, are each holding events in conjunction with the makeover build.
To make the project a success requires hundreds of volunteers and donations from area businesses and individuals. “We bring communities together to make a difference—not just in a family’s life—but in their own,” said Conrad Ricketts, Executive Producer for Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
“Whether you are nailing shingles on the roof, signing up to become an organ donor, donating blood or a can of food, you are making a difference for the betterment of this community and the nation as a whole,” Ricketts said.
Keeping with the local support concept, the production company makes use of as many regional resources as possible. Signs Now located at 1277 N. Fairfield Rd. in Beavercreek provided the signage for the project.
One of many Greene County area sponsors, Signs Now is owned by Roger and Cathy Peters. Tabitha Miller, is the general manager of the Beavercreek shop. “Every sponsor involved -from the builder to the food – has been donated. It’s amazing to see how everyone comes together to do this,” Miller said.
According to Miller, Signs Now produced 154 sponsor banners for the event. The City of Beavercreek will be installing 12 street banners and two 40-foot banners over the N. Fairfield Rd. overpass. Most of the preparation work began several months ago but everything really got moving once the family left the home on Thursday.
Crews spent most of Friday July 31 removing the Terpenning’s belongings and cutting down trees around the home and surrounding lots. By late afternoon on Saturday, however, there was nothing left of the Terpenning house but a wet pile of rubble. It wasn’t a fire or tornado that destroyed the Beavercreek residence, but a crew clad in blue t-shirts sporting a gold banner on the back that read, “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”
Hundreds of spectators gathered at the site to watch Ty Pennington, his Extreme Makeover crew, and dozens of volunteers demolish the Terpenning home in preparation for new construction. Airmen and officers of the United States Air Force got the wrecking ball rolling by ripping up the wooden wheelchair ramp and other pieces of the exterior before bringing in the heavy machinery.
American Idol star Kelly Pickler and Extreme Makeover Home Edition host Ty Pennington may have to be classified as heavy equipment as well. The pair chased around the house wielding sledge hammers, taking hunks out of walls and fixtures before the bulldozer plowed through.
As the crew worked to get various filming done for the show, there was little for the crowd to do but wait. Fortunately, medics from the Beavercreek Fire Department and other first aid experts were available to assist those overcome by the heat of the mid-day sun.
Finally, around 1:15 p.m. Saturday, the crowd cheered wildly (prompted by the show’s director) as the first backhoe cut into the front of the Terpenning home. Extreme Makeover Home Edition designer Didiayer Snyder pulled the levers that brought down the first sections of the house. Shortly after, Coventry Fine Homes, owner and president, Rob Arnold, got into the act as well, knocking down another corner of the home before a workman on a bulldozer took out the garage walls.
Once the ceremonial destruction had begun, the demolition crew went to work from three sides, bringing the home to the ground in a matter of minutes. Beavercreek Fire Department was active on the scene as well helping to contain the clouds of debris and dust with heavy sprays from two fire hoses.
Framing of the new home began on Sunday. The new home will be completed and revealed to the family during the filming of the segment known as “move that bus,” sometime on Thursday, August 6. To follow the progress of the project or learn about the various charities and sponsors involved, go to http://www.greenecountydailies.com and click on the Extreme Makeover Home Edition link.
The show airs on Sundays at 8:00 p.m. on the ABC Television Network – locally, WKEF-TV, channel 22 but there is no word yet on when this episode will be broadcast. Watch the Greene County Dailies Newspapers for further updates.