Extreme Makeover Home Edition:
Horry County, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
When you tune into “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” on ABC, feel-good moments are expected. But when the national show comes to your community and hun dreds of local businesses pitch in with time, talent and resources to make dreams come true for your neighbors – the positive vibes last long after Ty Pennington moves the bus.
Horry County, which surrounds Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has welcomed Extreme Makeover Home Edition twice. In 2007, Renee Wilson and her four grandchildren went from living in a 12-by-60-foot mobile home to a 3,500 square-foot house. Three years later, the Suggs family said goodbye to their 1,000-square foot home and moved their large family into 3,500-square feet of living space. Both of these amazing transfor mations culminated over the course of a week and couldn’t have been completed without the hard work and generosity of hundreds of community volunteers, sponsors and businesses.
This life-changing work doesn’t go unnoticed by the family on the receiv ing end of all the generosity.
“There were so many stories of people who donated time, even people who at the time might not have had a job or any type of in come,” said Amanda Suggs. “We’ve heard of people taking up money for gas so they could go back and forth to the site.”
Berkley White is vice president of Classic Home Building & Design in Myrtle Beach. His company and Sterling Homes (formerly Hall Custom Homes) built and designed the Wilsons’ new home in Longs, South Carolina. For five weeks, the Classic Home team helped pore over plans and secure materials and labor for a building project that would take 101 hours to complete. More than a thousand people were in volved in the construction process, working up to 24 hours at a time to get the home finished on schedule.
“The people who really get it done are the people of the commu nity,” said White. “They are the ones who are doing the work.”
In addition to being part of the design and building team, White was serving on the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce board when the show came to town.
“Everyone was excited about it and had a sense of pride. It was such a big undertaking,” he commented.
The show and the family inspired attitudes of generosity, White added.
“If we asked for 10 sheets of plywood, we’d have three companies deliver what we needed,” he said, pointing out that volunteers who didn’t get a chance to work on the Wilson home helped fix up other homes in the area, repairing roofs, installing bathrooms and completing other side projects. “People like to do good things for other people and this gives them an avenue to do that.”
“Extreme Makeover Home Edition” returned to Horry County in 2010. Sterling Homes contacted 84 Lumber in Myrtle Beach about being part of the team that would build a new home for Amanda and Derrick Suggs in Loris, and Market Manager Raymond Goodman re sponded with enthusiasm. Company employees reviewed plans with the builder and figured out what materials would be needed, rely ing on vendor partners for specific products. During construction, 84 Lumber employees were on-site day and night.
“It takes a lot of coordination for an entire house to come together this quickly,” said Goodman. “It made me and the other associates involved proud to have been part of doing this for someone in need.”
And since members of a hungry crew have to eat, Island Café and Deli in Pawleys Island was among several eateries ready with food and drinks for those working on the home. Owner Russell Hardee passed out meals at the Wilson build and helped other restaurant and catering personnel feed the laborers and others making the dream a reality.
“It was an adrenaline-filled week and mind-boggling to see how the community came together in all aspects of trade in our community,” Hardee remarked. “It was a blessing to watch the whole thing happen.”
As assistant news director for WPDE News Channel 15, Allyson Floyd has enjoyed a front-row seat for both home makeovers.
“When we found out ‘Extreme Makeover Home Edition’ was coming to Horry County the first time in 2007, there was an immediate buzz around the area,” she explained. “Everyone was so excited and wanted to be part of this.”
As an ABC affiliate, Floyd’s TV station had full access to the build and spent hour after hour bringing all the excitement of the project to its viewers. It was a powerful experience for all involved, she said.
“While the Wilson and Suggs families were given the gift of new homes, I truly believe those of us who were out there while their houses were built in a week received a far greater gift,” said Floyd.
She was equally impressed by the local businesses that provided labor, materials and other support.
“The volunteers and businesses didn’t do it for the attention or publicity,” she said. “They did it because they wanted to make a positive change in someone’s life.”