Soldiers join crew to "makeover" veteran's home
Soldiers from the 705th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion have been staying up all night - all week - building a house for a Marine.
The Soldiers are donating their time and talents this week on the site for a new home being built in Kansas City, Kan., by Kevin Green Homes and ABC's reality show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The home is being built for Marine veteran Daniel Gilyeat and his family.
Gilyeat lost his leg when his humvee hit a landmine on July 3, 2003, during his second tour in Iraq. Helping a fellow veteran made working on the house even more meaningful for Staff Sgt. Christopher Gibson and Sgt. Travis Delmastro, who went to the site Nov. 5 to volunteer.
Gibson said he and his buddies usually watch the television show. Most of them are engineers and find it interesting to see a house put up so fast. He said they talked about trying to help out if the show ever came back to the area. When Gibson was watching television Nov. 5 he saw the build site on the news and by 7 p.m. that night Gibson and Delmastro were on the site helping.
"We stayed until 2 a.m. and we're going to do it all throughout the week until they do the reveal on the house," Gibson said.
When Gibson and Delmastro went back the next night, they brought Pvt. Jon Bassett and Sgt. Michael Tyo with them. Tyo said it is not like anything he has ever seen before, and nothing compared to what you see on television.
"See all the guys on the roof right now? It looks crazy right? Well, inside is the exact same way," Tyo said. "There's people everywhere - I've never seen a site like this."
Gibson echoed Tyo's amazement. He said there is so much edited out of the show, viewers don't realize how many people it actually takes.
"This many people working on top of each other," Gibson said. "This many trades and companies donating time, getting the job done."
Kevin Green, president of Kevin Green Homes, said this is his third home with the show, and though it's getting a little easier to coordinate, it's still a massive project.
Green said the process, which can only take five days, is going to have its ups and downs. He said there are a lot of good things going on and there's always going to be "grenades" going off once in a while, but everyone works together to get the job done.
"It's amazing. No one is arguing, everyone is getting along and everyone is here for the right reasons," Green said.
Kevin Green Homes spokesperson Tony Libra said the first time ABC called Green they gave him 90 days to prepare, the second time he got 70 days. This time, Green was notified of the project just 29 days before the show's host, Ty Pennington, woke the family up with his signature bullhorn good morning greeting Nov. 3.
"Twenty-nine days is pretty short lead time," Green said.
Libra said Green was working on about four hours of sleep, but kept a close eye on the process with his master list. Green has a list of every single project that needs to be completed and a timeline that needs to be followed. A couple of volunteers walk around the perimeter of the project every couple hours with a large sign telling the builders how far ahead or behind they are.
"We were talking the other day and Kevin said, 'You know Daniel Gilyeat lost his leg - the least we can do is lose a little sleep,'" Libra said.
The house, normally a six- or seven-month project according to Libra, will be turned over to Pennington and the other interior designers of the show Nov. 9. The reveal to the family will be at noon Nov. 10. The episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," featuring the Gilyeat home, does not yet have a scheduled air date. Information about the project can be found at www.kevingreenhomes.com.
Fort Leavenworth Lamp, November 8, 2007
By Tisha Johnson, Staff Writer