INsite Magazine

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Pep Rally

(Photo by Rodney Rogers)
In one week, the Emmy award-winning ABC reality show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will makeover a home in Gainesville. In preparation for this event, several hundred Gainesville residents attended a pep rally Wednesday morning at Grace at Fort Clarke United Methodist Church. Conrad Ricketts, executive producer of the show, came to speak to the good-sized crowd and inspire them for the help they will be giving to the family and to the community.

“The reason we’re here today is to bring you all together to volunteer and change a family’s life,” he said. Other subcontractors and members of the early-arrival team for the project were introduced and recognized at the rally, including people who will be volunteering their time, energy and resources to work around the clock 24/7 to get the house first demolished, then rebuilt – in seven days.

Ricketts said a typical house is built in four months, but they are going to build one 106 hours. “We have a dream, Gainesville, and you’re going to make that dream happen,” he said.
Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan also spoke at the rally, saying she was a fan of the show and that Gainesville was blessed to get this great opportunity to help a family in need, help the community, and put out a positive message that the city would not have had the resources to do otherwise.

Ricketts said the show is broadcast in 69 countries and translated in 58 languages. Thus, “one billion people will see your town, your community,” he said, referring to Gainesville. Gainesville-based Ark Remodeling & Construction was chosen to be the official construction firm for the local house being rebuilt, which Ricketts said will be the show’s 178th build.

Ricky Strickland, president of Ark Remodeling & Construction, said, “We have not yet met the family, and already so much love is pouring in.” Residents were encouraged to come out and be spectators to cheer on the volunteers next week. “Having people out there cheering us on is much better than any Red Bull or coffee,” said Ricky’s daughter April Strickland, CFO/Manager of Ark Remodeling & Construction.

In addition, both a canned food drive and a LifeSouth blood drive will be taking place during the week of the house rebuilding. For more information or to find out how you can help, visit

(Photo by Sarah Hsu)

--Sarah Hsu; Photos by Rodney Rogers and Sarah Hsu

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