A local man went above and beyond his normal job duties when he traveled all the way to Medford, Ore. to volunteer his time for the television program “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.” The show builds brand new houses for worthy families in need. Scott Jerner spent several days in Medford in September helping to build a brand new home for the McPhail family, a family of five including two autistic children.
“I got the chance to meet the family, well the parents actually. They seemed like a really great family,” Jerner said.
He learned about the volunteer opportunity from his cousin, Kirk Daley, who was a volunteer engineer on the project. Daley called Jerner and told him about the volunteer opportunity in Oregon. Jerner jumped at the chance to put his construction and carpentry experience to work for a good cause. He was assigned to the COBRA team, and assisted in many specific areas of the project.
Jerner said the most impressive part of the experience was how quickly the construction went. He explained that “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” producers get all of the necessary permits, paperwork and crowd control in place before they surprise the nominated family. They also have all of their construction companies, volunteers and equipment ready to go the day they surprise the family.
“We built an entire house in less than a week. We started construction on Wednesday night and gave the keys to the filming crew on Tuesday,” Jerner said.
Jerner worked 12 hour shifts until Sunday night, when he had to return home to his family and job. He was kept in the loop on progress of the house by Daley. And progress went quickly. Jerner said there were a lot of construction crews helping out with the project. There were four concrete companies working just on the foundation. Jerner has work experience in home construction and he said he has never seen a house built that quickly before.
“People really had to cooperate and work together. We did a custom build that would normally have taken from six to nine months to complete,” Jerner said.
The experience of building a house in a week was even more impressive considering that the first and last day of the build were dedicated to filming the show. The McPhail family was surprised by the show’s host Ty Pennington on Wednesday morning around 6 a.m. They then spent the day filming for the show. Jerner said that it’s a little bit of TV magic that makes it seem like the family immediately leaves for vacation in a limo.
“They did go on vacation, but they were around for most of the first day,” Jerner said.
He had the chance to meet the McPhail parents and a few of the television cast members. He never got to meet Pennington, but he did see Paul DiMeo and Ed Sanders. He said the highlight was meeting Paige Hemmis.
“She had her pink hard hat and everything. Everybody is a little star struck when they are around, work slows down just a little bit,” Jerner said.
Jerner said that he was thankful to be part of such a good cause. Everyone on the working crews for “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” volunteered for the job. There were skilled construction workers, landscapers, contractors and people who had never held a hammer in their lives. The inexperienced volunteers helped out however they could, and there was a job for everyone.
“It was just really cool to see that community come together. Anyone can sign up online to volunteer, they don’t have to have experience,” Jerner said.
The McPhail family episode of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” will air at 8 p.m. on Friday on the abc network. Jerner said that he might be on camera in the background of the episode, but he isn’t sure.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.