When Janet and Danny left the island of Tonga in 1991, it was to give their family a better life and a better education. Danny was the strong leader in this family and the glue that held them together. That's why it was as if a bomb had hit when he suddenly died in May of 2004 from a heart attack, leaving Janet a widowed mother of nine (eight children and one nephew living in the home). With no life insurance policy and the sole provider gone, this tight knit family has been struggling both emotionally and financially.
They pulled together with the love and support they had for each other, and they all worked for the four family businesses -- cement laying, tree trimming, catering and Polynesian luau entertainment. They pool their money to pay the high mortgage and the car insurances, which leaves little left over. They're doing all they can to stay afloat, but the more they have to work, the less time they have to make the repairs their house so desperately needs.
Despite their own great loss and daily struggles, this family still finds time to help others. The children volunteer for youth services in their community, as well as for the elderly. Janet cooks and delivers food to needy families in the neighborhood. It's her desire to have a commercial kitchen so she can actually do her catering from her home. Instead she has to cater on the scene, which makes it more difficult. They bring such joy to all they come in contact with, and they also educate and celebrate their rich Tongan heritage through their food, their dance and their many talents.
In this episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the design team heads off to Utah to help a family get back on track to brighter days and to prove that hard work does reap EXTREME rewards.
While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team, local builder Kartchner Homes of Logan, Utah, and hundreds of workers and volunteers are transforming the Pauni's house into a dream home, the family will vacation in a private yacht in the British Virgin Islands.