Monday, February 21, 2011
We are not regular watchers, but last Sunday night, Carolyn and I tuned in. I would put this series in the category of Reality TV. Extreme Makeover – Home Edition this week became part of our family story. That Sunday night, our son-in-law, Jamie Ostrander, made an ever-so-brief cameo appearance on network television. ABC. He played a key role in securing the funding for what turned out to be more than a re-make. It was a total rebuild.
Joe and Cindy Hurston, on a whim, applied as contestants with a video that described their run-down house and their work. Joe flies a twin engine, push-pull Cessna Skymaster and has dedicated the airplane to what he calls Air Mobile Disaster Relief Ministries. He packs the old workhorse with water purifiers and flies them in whenever and wherever disaster strikes. He follows hurricanes and floods, tornadoes and earthquakes, the most recent in Haiti where he was a first responder and continues to deliver portable devices to clean up the contamination and prevent disease. His story got the attention of the program’s execs. The Hurstons were selected. The crew went to work from there.
The network team contacts all sorts of local businesses to accomplish the goal. Among them, the project’s point man, was Jake Luhn, President of Lifestyle Homes in Melbourne, Florida. Jake and Jamie have been pals since high school. Jake picked up the phone and challenged Jamie, a financial advisor, to jump in and take on the challenge to raise the quarter of a million dollars in cash to complete the project. The funds included the payoff of the Hurston’s mortgage.
Jake and Jamie hit the streets running. There were rallies and gatherings of all sorts all around building the community momentum toward creating a dream home for the Hurstons. They tore down the old two-story that had been severely damaged by a broken water main. They started with a new slab. Interior designers, landscape architects, all the trades came together with their best efforts. The Hurston’s adopted children were interviewed and their rooms were designed accordingly. What we saw on Sunday night drew us in to the power of generosity and care. It was a celebration of giving.
In addition, the old Skymaster got a facelift, too. New paint. New windows. New interior, including a state of the art navigational system. The old, seasoned pilot could barely speak.
So reality TV sometimes lives up to its name.
Copyright Kenneth E Kemp 2011