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Extreme Makeover's local connection

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By John Foster

Eyes around Oldham County and Louisville will likely be glued to the TV Sunday night, hoping to catch a glimpse of local volunteers and familiar businesses on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” The two-hour episode airs at 8 p.m. The show was filmed in November at the home of Patrick Hughes and family on Buechel Bank Road in Louisville, where hundreds of volunteers worked to build a new house for the Hughes’ family in seven days. Head builder on the project, Elite Homes President Joe Pusateri, said in fact the Extreme Makeover team builds two homes concurrently in a week. While working on the Louisville home, Ty Pennington and company were building a home in Kansas City with a different set of designers, builders and volunteers. But for Elite Homes, who is developing The Reserve at L’Esprit in Oldham County, the actual building time was only four days, when days are taken out for site preparation, demolition and interior decor. And this is done with only five weeks of preparation. Pusateri said a spirit of cooperation kept the crew running through all hours of the day and night. The Hughes family provided inspiration for everyone who touched the project, he said. Patricia and Patrick John Hughes’ eldest son, Patrick Henry, was born without eyes and without the ability to fully straighten his arms and legs. Even so, by age 2 he could play songs on the piano after only hearing them once, according to the Elite Homes’ Web site. He is a student at the University of Louisville where he plays trumpet in the marching band while his father pushes the wheelchair. But to hear Patrick speak, he doesn’t have a disability, Pusateri said. Pusateri can’t share specifics, but he recommends watching for an interview with Patrick Hughes that is sure to inspire. Pusateri wasn’t the only one touched by the project, hundreds of volunteers and businesses contributed. The Oldham Era sought submissions from residents who visited the Hughes’ home during filming in November. There was an overwhelming response. Some local participants include Maxine Klosterman, Chris Wall, Chelsea Ryan, Chris Moon, Suzy Kingsbury, Randy McGehee and The Bob Ray Company.C&W Excavating,Rogers Group and TCB On top of his other “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” duties, Pusateri wrote a daily blog, where he recognized several Oldham County businesses for their donation of thousands of dollars in materials and man power for the project. “The problem with mentioning specific people is you leave someone out,” Pusateri wrote. “I do want to thank Boland Maloney, IMI, Rogers Group, TCB and C & W Excavating. We are building a house with no steps (for Patrick) on a lot that has a 4 1/2-foot slope from one end of the house to the other with bad soil.” Pusateri said it took more than 2,000 tons of crushed stone, many yards of concrete and bulldozers to facilitate it all.Patricia Nichter, Pendleton, TCB Plus Grading PLLC Patricia Nichter said her 100 hours of moving and smoothing dirt during the Extreme Makeover project is what she imagines heaven is like. She said everyone gave up their egos and worked together with a smile on their face. She built real friendships for the first time with people she had known eight years, she said. She said every time she tried to sneak away and grab a nap in her truck, the phone would ring. Without much sleep, she kept running on the excitement. “You just didn’t want to leave. I smiled for 101 hours straight,” she said. She said Patrick Hughes serves as an inspiration for her to have the same positive attitude in the face of obstacles that he does. “I got strength from him because he’s so amazing,” she said.Joe Scannell, Buckner, Surveying Services Joe Scannell was involved in surveying the site before the Extreme Makeover crew arrived in addition to near non-stop work the week of the build. The television production company told the Hughes family they were one of five finalists, but Scannell knew better. “There was never five families,” he said. He, like anyone with knowledge of the project, had to sign an extensive waiver not to leak information, but he knew the Hughes were going to be the recipients of the new home. Scannell said he will be watching to see if he is on TV, but since the actual home build happens in a blur of time-lapse photography, he doesn’t think he will probably be noticable. But that doesn’t diminish what he calls one of the greatest experiences of his life, made that way because of the attitude of all the co-workers. He complimented multiple companies, but in particular Key Homes of Buckner. Scannell said owner Billy Doelker stepped up with no notice when the need arose for an experienced framer. Doelker had his wisdom teeth extracted that day. “It was the biggest group of givers that I have ever been associated with. It was a time when the bottom line was not an issue.”Sam Gerges, Castle Construction and Development Melissa Gerges bragged that her husband framed and roofed an entire structure at the new University of Louisville Marching Band practice field that was built for the show. She said her husband, “Is too modest and would never admit it, so I am doing it for him.” She said when construction fell behind schedule, he spent almost 20 hours straight framing the building.Bo Crouch, La Grange,C&W Construction While everyone else at the Extreme home build was dressed in the blue button-ups provided by the show or the black button-ups worn by employees of Elite Homes, one man could be found dressed in his usual red plaid. Bo Crouch and his company, C&W Construction, did large-scale excavating needed for the house and swimming pool.This matter-of-fact man said it was one the best experiences he has had in 21 years of work. “Not a cross word has been said to nobody,” he said. “Everybody’s been in everybody’s way, but everyone got their job done.” After a week worth of 20-hour days with one day blending into the next Crouch was in no mood to wait around for the bus to move after his work was done. He headed home as the crowd was still flooding in. Crouch went back to work the next day.Aaron Pike, Buckner, Padgett Inc. Pike is the equipment sales manager for Padgett Crane. The company donated a 50-ton crane to lift wooden trusses for the house. In 12 hours of work, all the trusses were set in place. “It was an amazing experience to be a part of, and I’m very proud to have been involved,” he said.Brian Holloway, Quality Stone and Ready Mix Before the Extreme build, the University of Louisville marching band practice field was little more than a field with one water fountain for all the band. The band had no place to take shelter from the weather and had to lug their equipment across campus to practice. Quality Stone and Ready Mix, where Holloway is vice president, donated crushed stone and concrete for a new shelter and for the house. Holloway worked on the new shelter for a day and said the energy there was unrelentingly positive. “Everybody was just enthusiastic about making it a nice place to be,” he said.Nancye Hancock, Northeast Christian Church, RE/MAX Hancock volunteered one day through Northeast Christian Church and another through her RE/MAX office. She worked in the hospitality tent giving out food and drink to the volunteers working non-stop. She said the positive attitude was infectious. “I was overwhelmed just to be a part of it.” She was able to go inside the house before the family came home and was blown away. “I was like, ‘Whoa!’” She said it is really something to see, including a guitar cutout in the floor that lights up when stepped on and voice activation on all the electrical systems. “It was really something to see.”Edmond Smith Sr., Project Heating and Cooling and daughter Kristian Onan Smith and a crew of 23 from Project Heating and Cooling showed up ready to install the house’s heating and cooling in six hours Monday. By the time the house was ready for them, the project was three hours behind, Smith said. So the crew installed the heating and cooling in three hours instead. “We jumped in and did our job and got it done in three hours,” he said. A project that size with a smaller crew usually takes about a week, Smith said. He said an individual usually doesn’t have the resources to help out a family like the Hughes in that big of a way, but when a group of companies band together and work together for good, big things are possible.

E-mail us about this story at:jfoster@oldhamera.com