Brad and Laura Usea were fortunate to have their family survive their first battle with natural disasters when Hurricane Katrina hit, but their home did take a nasty beating from the brutal storm. Not only was their home severely damaged, though, Brad's mother Grace's house was completely destroyed, leaving her, Brad's twin brother Chad and older brother Chris all homeless. Brad and Laura took their family in without hesitation. Then, in February of 2007, tornados struck Westwego in the middle of the night, causing more devastation to their already fragile home and destroying the trailer in the backyard where Chris had been living since the hurricane. That night, Brad and Chad, both volunteer firefighters, came to the rescue of not just their family, but their neighbors who were trapped in their own trailer. Local heroes to many, Brad and Chad continue to work to rebuild this community devastated by natural disasters, while living on top of each other in a single-family home. On the same lot, Ty and the "EMHE" design team will build not just one but three bigger, newer and stronger homes for the Usea family so they'll all have the space they need and give Brad and his family, Chris, Chad and Grandma Grace back their independence.
In 1998 Pastor Willie Walker, who has been serving the needy community in New Orleans for 60 years, came to Noah's Ark Missionary Baptist Church. Willie has dedicated his life to helping people who are most in need - addicts, AIDS patients, the homeless and the poor -- and has become a local hero to his congregation and community, acting as a father figure to those headed down the wrong path and making everyone feel equal and welcome. When Katrina hit, after Willie made sure his own family was safe, he risked his life by going back to the devastation time and time again to help rescue hundreds and save many lives. When he finally returned to the church, he found it totally destroyed by the flood waters. For two years, Willie continued to work tirelessly to help the victims of Katrina, but has not been able to rebuild his beloved church. Now, the crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will rebuild this church and provide not just a place of worship for this congregation, but a refuge for the entire community.
In a first-ever effort to put together a coalition of past builders from all over the country, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is calling on the building industry to join forces and help with what may be the toughest challenge yet. With Hurricane Katrina still taking a toll on families on the road to recovery and resources and manpower scarce, it will take the efforts of the entire country to come together to make a difference.
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is proud to announce the leadership teams for the Build will be led by Deltec Homes, who have gathered construction talent from their home state of North Carolina, including The EcoBuilders, Round House Consulting and Jones Construction, as well as from the gulf region and beyond, including G & S Construction and Shultz Construction from Mississippi, Dana Dugas Affordable Homes, Inc., Barker Homes, Sunrise Homes, David W. Stewart, Inc. and Rutledge Builders from Louisiana, Sterling Homes of South Carolina, Simmons Homes of Oklahoma, Jeff Junkert Construction of Montana, Heritage Homes of North Dakota, Shoemaker Homes of Mississippi, Alure Home Improvement of New York, Gallagher Family Homes of Florida, Denova Homes of California and Atreus Homes and Communities of North Carolina, Georgia, New Mexico and Arizona, plus R.J. Moreau of New Hampshire. Each team will gather volunteers, subs and trades from each state and travel to New Orleans for the week of the build.
In addition, the popular Australian vocal group The Ten Tenors will pay musical tribute to the builders, performing an emotionally charged version of "Here's to the Heroes," the title track from The Ten Tenors' most recent album.
While Ty and the designers, the builders and hundreds of volunteers and workers are rebuilding their home, the Usea and the Walker families will go on vacation to Walt Disney World.
The design team for this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will feature team leader Ty Pennington and designers Michael Moloney, Tracy Hutson, Paige Hemmis, Paul DiMeo, Ed Sanders and Eduardo Xol.