Extreme Makeover: Local Edition
by Staff Writer
LINCOLNTON – “Bus driver, move that bus!” Ty Pennington will shout his famous line at the end of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s” Dec. 10 holiday special.
The only difference this time is that the family his team built a dream house for, the Fridays, live in Lincolnton.
Devonda Friday, a former police officer and her husband, James, have fostered more than 30 children since 2005, raising them alongside their two children.
Yet it was taking in Chris, the oldest in a family of five, in May 2010 that changed the Fridays’ lives. Chris convinced them to adopt his younger siblings, and soon the Fridays sought to refit their modest ranch home.
But it was a tight squeeze, at least until Pennington’s team arrived at their doorstep a year ago.
Bellamy Homes, a Charlotte-based semi-custom builder, partnered with Lincoln County Home Builders Association and thousands of area volunteers to aid the television crew with its Herculean task.
“I live five miles from there, so when we got in a bind, we could call on local carpenters and builders to get us through it,” said Mark Ingle, president of the Lincoln County Homebuilders Association.
He worked 14 hours a day during the week-long project. Ingle recalled between 3,000 and 4,000 volunteers signing up to help.
Lisa Pendry, owner of Fabric and Drapery Designs in Denver, donated all the home’s fabric, including throw pillows for an outdoor movie theater, bedspreads and window treatments. She also assisted with designing House of Hope, a charity the “Extreme Makeover” team set up in Devonda’s name to help other area foster families.
“I truly put my heart into House of Hope, and it was supposed to have anything you needed to start out a new foster child like cribs, daybeds, bottles and carseats, because the parents may get a call at two in the morning saying you need to take an infant because its mom is going to jail,” Pendry said.
Her biggest disappointment in assisting with the show was not seeing House of Hope ever become a reality.
“A media specialist is supposed to keep in touch with the family to make sure everything stays pristine before the show airs, but when it got canceled last year, I think that element fell through the cracks,” Pendry said.
She recalled how chaos ruled the week of construction.
“When you’re on the scene, people are hungry and thirsty and haven’t slept in 20 hours. It’s a total circus, and you don’t want to trip over somebody with a drill in your hand.”
Yet making sure the children’s bedrooms looked amazing as they settled into a “forever home” was a high priority for all involved Pendry said.
“The team really honored and respected the children by creating a great homework area, a slide beside the staircase and a rock climbing wall to get upstairs. Every child got a bedroom theme based on their dreams like a New York City writer’s loft room or one with basketball backboards and TVs on the wall to catch every game.”
The Fridays’ episode is expected to feature an appearance by NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip and the Charlotte Bobcats’ female dance troupe.
The Friday family could not be reached for an interview by press time.
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