Soldiers volunteer for Extreme Makeover project
July 15, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (Army News Service, July 15, 2011) -- The residents of Langdon Street are used to seeing neighbors walk up and down the streets of their quiet community.
But on the morning of July 14, they were as surprised as homeowner, Barbara Summey Marshall, to see an army of volunteers walk up and stop in front of 120 Langdon Street.
Ty Pennington, and the crew from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” greeted Marshall and residents, Judy Hilburn, Niki Harper and her two sons, Keyon Taft, 10, and Kelli Carmon, 16, of the Jubilee House as she answered her front door with the well-known, wake-up call - “G-o-o-d M-o-r-n-i-n-g!”
With those two words, Marshall realized she was about to receive a home from the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, or EMHE team.
“We are off the charts excited. Cannot be measured excited! This is going to allow us to provide services for women veterans who come on a daily basis seeking residence and support,” said Marshall.
Marshall, a 15-year Navy veteran, knows how it feels to need a helping hand. She is a retired chaplain, who, in 2005, was facing foreclosure, had health problems and was going through a rough patch in her marriage.
After getting back on her feet and overcoming her challenges, Marshall knew she had to help others. Seeing a need to support and end homelessness among her fellow veterans, she found her calling by purchasing the home on Langdon Street and establishing the Steps & Stages Jubilee House.
Marshall bought the 1,600 square foot house with money from her savings and help from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The home is about 12 miles from Fort Bragg, in Fayetteville, N.C., and looks like most on its street. It is wrapped in white siding, has a nice yard with mature trees and has seen its share of residents since it was built in the 1940s. But over those years, the home has seen its better days and was definitely in need of repairs when Marshall purchased it.
Since October, volunteers from Fort Bragg and the local community have been working to make the house habitable and a place to call home for up to six women veterans and their children. Jubilee House offers shelter, support and services such as mentoring and life coaching to homeless female veterans.
“We have more requests than we have space. The house that we have now is a house that is old and in need of repairs. This will allow us to get our home in a better condition so that the women who are housed here can be living in a house that truly represents how much we appreciate their service to our nation,” said Marshall.
When Marshall answered the door knock from Pennington of EMHE, she knew her dreams were about to become a reality. In just seven days, the crew will demolish the careworn house and build a new home, suited to meet the needs of the shelter Marshall envisioned.
“I serve the daughters of our nation -- women veterans, those who have taken the oath and promised to protect and defend our great nation. The services that we provide to these women are tailored to their individual needs. We reach out to women to help them envision themselves moving forward -- home ownership, business ownership, fulfilling their dreams, moving toward their destiny -- to support them moving forward,” said Marshall.
While the home is being built, Marshall and other Jubilee House residents and their children will be vacationing at Walt Disney World and following the progress on a computer.
Usually, homes built by the EMHE TV professionals and local volunteers are for a single family to live in and enjoy. But this one is different. Extreme team leader Pennington and designers Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, John Littlefield and Sabrina Soto will rebuild the Jubilee home, along with the help of builder Blue Ridge Log Cabins and other community organizations and volunteers.
About 215 Fort Bragg Soldiers are volunteering their time to help building the home for Marshall, said Frank Hanan, Fort Bragg community relations chief.
The theme for this episode of EMHE is “joining forces” and will include all branches of the armed forces. The episode is slated to air on ABC in late October. This is the ninth season for EMHE.