For you Jeff Gordon fans.....
Four-time champion Jeff Gordon will be the celebrity builder for this week's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" build in Horry County, S.C., officials announced Monday.
A three-time Daytona 500 winner, Gordon has recorded seven victories at Darlington Raceway. His first at the historic S.C. track was in the 1995 race and most recent in 2007.
The show also announced Monday that the Suggs family would be getting a new home.
"We really appreciate being chosen," said Amanda Suggs. "We still really can't wrap our heads around this."
The three-bedroom, one-bath home where they lived had a number of problems.
"We try the best we can but some things are beyond our control," she said.
Suggs and her husband Derrick took in her siblings shortly after they were married and have taken care of them as their own since then.
The new home will mean that they have a safe home to continue to raise them in, Amanda Suggs said.
Builders Sterling Homes will team with about 2,000 volunteers to help build the house. The public is invited to watch the progress and is encouraged to bring canned goods for a countywide food drive running in conjunction with the build.
Organizers of an "extreme" canned food drive to run in conjunction with the return of ABC's reality show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" have a lofty goal: to collect more food locally than ever has been done before.
"We thought it was a great opportunity because all of our food pantries were hit really hard at Christmas," said Julie Kopnicky, a spokeswoman for the United Way of Horry County.
The show's premise - creating a custom-built dream home for a deserving family who could never afford it themselves - plus its scale (doing so in a one-week period) seem to inspire its host community to similar feats of kindness. This year, as the county struggles with double-digit unemployment, that philanthropic energy will be even more beneficial than it was in 2007 when the show worked its magic in Longs.
Longs resident Renee Wilson and her grandchildren received a new home in 2007. George DuRant, event director for the build, answered a few questions.
Can people come to the build and watch? How will it work?
Absolutely. The public is invited; the site will be open to the general public at 8 a.m. Wednesday. There will be plenty of designated parking, well marked, and shuttles will be able to take spectators from the parking lot to the spectator area at the build.
Why isn't the build site open to spectators before Wednesday?
They'll do the door-knock [today] and immediately go into production: filming the family's door-knock, as well as their packing and departure via limo to the airport for their vacation, and then from there they'll get interior shots from the former home for reference when the show airs. That production will be going on, and they would be hampered by a large crowd while doing that production.
The next day, Tuesday, will be spent with heavy equipment preparing the site, staging for construction, creating temporary parking and lodging, running temporary utilities such as lighting towers and electrical and general set up of the infrastructure, which includes closing off roads and streets. So, yet again, large crowds would not only hamper that progress, but it would be dangerous.
Will people be able to meet Ty Pennington and the rest of the design team?
The designers and on-air talent always mingle with the crowd. They'll come out, they'll say hello, they'll high-five folks, and they'll speak to them.
Why did "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" come back to Horry County?
Three reasons. A compelling story: The family is indeed a collection of heroes who deserve this. They are a family who has given to their community, are public servants and are generous in every definition of the word. They are just struggling with an almost unbelievable situation.
The second reason is this community's proven ability to stage this event. They were so impressed with the generosity of the community and our ability to work together that they had a great deal of confidence we could pull this off. It's a tribute to the nature of people in Horry County.
The third reason is that the builder not only has a heart for this and for helping people but the experience. This is Sterling Homes' third "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" build.
What are the differences between the build in 2007 and this build?
The absolute most obvious two differences are No. 1, the economy. The construction, building and real estate industry has been decimated. Companies in this business were prosperous, they were well staffed and had resources - both capital and human - to pull this off without disruption of their normal business. Now many of the companies that were involved are not in business. People are out of work, money is tight, resources are almost nonexistent, and staff and subs and trades are literally out of work, so the ability to do this in a down economy is further validation that this is an amazing task undertaken both by Sterling and this community. In short, it was easier to do it in 2007.
The second reason it's different is that there is another overwhelming need that has taken center stage and that's this food drive in partnership with the United Way that Sterling Homes has initiated in an effort to feed the hungry in our area. With a staggering goal of 100 tons of food, the drive itself may make as much impact as this global show.
How is the food drive going so far?
Very well. The distribution points are numerous, the collections are brisk. But honestly, we have no way to weigh or measure what's been collected to date.
What else should people know?
They should know that we've all been humbled - 'we' being the people involved in this - by a single comment by an out-of-work tradesman who said 'people should act like this every day,' referring to helping your neighbor, looking for people less fortunate than we are. The show producers liken this to an old-fashioned barn raising, and we just hope this rekindles people's compassion for others.