Season 9
Hill Family
Hill Family
Season 9 | Episode 907 | Aired 11/03/2011

Ty and the team head to Ottawa, Kansas to surprise the Hill family which includes Allen, Gina, their two sons, Makale and Dreyson, and dog, Frankie. Staff Sergeant Allen Hill was almost killed by a massive roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. Environmental triggers such as loud noises, dimly lit spaces and long hallways can bring on episodes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sergeant Hill's house is near a noisy rock quarry and train yard. He needs a new home built in a suitable location. Know anyone who can help?

Ty and designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Ed Sanders, and Johnny Littlefield, as well as local builders M.A.C. Corporation and Canyon Creek Construction, LLC and community volunteers are tasked with building the structure as the family is whisked away on a dream vacation to Yosemite.

Award-winning actress Glenn Close nominated the Hills for the show. She founded a not-for-profit organization called Bring Change 2 Mind to combat the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Bring Change 2 Mind educates and raises awareness about mental illness, including PTSD. The organization sourced a piece of land and assisted in a donation for the new house.

Speaking of donations, the entire community enjoys a big barbecue cook-off to raise funds for the family. An organization called Operation Finally Home also donates $10,000 and promises to take care of all taxes and insurance for the next two years. Add all this up and the family just got a $40,000 gift.

Glenn Close has also been heavily involved in the Puppies Behind Bars program which employs prisoners to train service dogs for wounded vets. Sergeant Hill's new service dog from Puppies Behind Bars, Frankie, has helped him make significant strides toward wellness.

Ty want create a special "safe zone" area for Sergeant Hill where he can go if he ever has a PTSD episode. Paul wants to create an entire area just for Frankie the dog. Johnny wants combine an office for mom and a gym for dad so they can be near each other. Paige wants to build a sprinting track for speedy Makale. Ed wants to create an actor-friendly room for the ever-theatrical Dreyson. It's an ambitious endeavor to be sure.

Paige meets the family at the airport to find out what Allen needs to feel comfortable when he finally comes home. The American Legion veterans lead the family in via a motorcycle brigade. In a change of pace for this show, the screaming crowd goes silent once the family arrives out of respect for Allen.

It's a tearful, chill-inducing moment when Allen steps out of the car to be flanked by National Guard members as the crowd waves flags in the background. Now it's time to quietly move that bus. They say silence is golden. But on this day, silence is truly amazing.

Here's a breakdown of the new digs:
• The beautiful new house sits on about three acres of land with not a lot of neighbors.
• The interior is full of wide open spaces and hallways with see-through walls.
• The concrete floor, triple-pane windows and sound-proofing in the walls take care of any noise issues.
• Glenn Close helps create a special coffee table to house all of Allen's medals and decorations.
• Johnny uses dividing bookshelves to separate the gym and office. There's no backing on these things. This is done so that Allen could see through it and feel safe.
• Johnny put a topiary wall in the gym to promote a calming effect for Allen. The equipment in the gym has been donated by Sears and is designed for optimum quietness.
• Makale's room is a track star's dream. There's high jump bar attached to the bed frame and a cool hurdle desk.
• Dreyson Studios is the name of the bedroom belonging to the family's budding star. Ed created a space where massive scenes open up on walls like a book. There's the surfboard scene, the medieval scene and the cowboy scene.
• For Allen's Quiet Room, Brent, Eric and Dan from Syyn Labs create a perfect relaxation chair for Allen that focuses on as many senses as possible. It has speakers for soothing sounds and an aroma-therapy device for pleasant smells.
• Syyn Labs also creates a system where sensors attached to Allen's body will indicate when his heart rate goes up. This will tell him when it would be time to go back to his quiet room.
• There's beautiful fireplace in the enormous master bedroom. The words "Welcome Home Daddy" are written on an amazing quilt. There's a nice little bed for Frankie the dog, too.
• Ty had some custom rocking chairs for both Allen and Gina. They are beyond relaxing.
• The new pool in the amazing backyard is huge and should prove to be very therapeutic for Allen.
• Paul creates a playground for Frankie the dog. It has giant bones for climbing and a water park filled with doggie fountains.
• There's an amazing track area where Makale can show off all his athletic moves for his dad.

Ty informs the family that Makale and Dreyson will be receiving full four-year scholarships to college. Allen will also get a scholarship. He even can take all his classes online. This build has been a quietly moving experience for everyone involved. Welcome home, Hill family. Welcome home.

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