extreme makeover piece

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MAYOR LAUGHLIN  AND NOW, A WORD FROM (EVERY MONTH. STARTING NOW) WHY IT’S TOUGH TO BE A JETS FAN SUPER BOWL XLV DENTIST? NEED A LOOK NO FURTHUR WHAT COLOR IS LOVE? CH2 CELEBRATES  VALENTINE' S DA Y    F    E    B    R    U    A    R    Y    2    0    1    1

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    MAYOR

    LAUGHLIN

    AND NOW, AWORD FROM

    (EVERY MONTH.STARTING NOW)

    WHY ITTOUGH TO

    BE AJETS FAN

    SUPERBOWL XLV

    DENTIST?NEED A

    LOOK NOFURTHUR

    WHATCOLORIS LOVE?

    CH2CELEBRATES

    VALENTINE'S DAY

    FEBRUARY

    2011

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    EXTREMEHOME EDITION

    JANUARY 12TH, 2010.

    Its 6 a.m. on a cold Wednesday morning. The bright January

    sun starts to rise over the north side of Beaufort County, its first

    rays illuminating an empty home on the outskirts of town. The

    sidewalks are swarming with people, the roads filled with cars.

    On the site where a new house will soon stand, an elderly couple

    hammers nails out of a plank of wood. Stopping briefly to exchange

    loving glances at one another, the two have worked tirelessly

    through the night trying to get their jobs done. As their shifts are

    called to an end, they turn to the person working to their right: a

    sweat-covered young man half their age and twice their size. They

    smile at him, shake his hand and say how glad they were to meet.The satisfied volunteers ride the shuttle back to their cars and

    drive away happy and excited to see the rest of the project unfold.

    Things are going well after the first day and a half of Beaufort

    Countys Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build, yet the build

    supervisors, frantically assigning tasks to the next batch of

    volunteers, are too busy to care. They have one week to build a

    new house for a family in need. In their minds, things can never go

    well enough.

    NOVEMBER 24TH, 2010

    Six weeks earlier, William Court and James Atkins, co-

    founders of the Beaufort County-based architecture firm Court

    Atkins, were entrenched in a three-hour conference call with Todd

    ARTICLE BY LUKE KERR-DINEEN

    EXTREMEMAKEOVER:

    PHOTO BY AMY CARROLL

    PHOT

    OB

    Y

    CHARLIEHEYMAN

    PHOTO BY PAUL NURNBERG

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    OTO BY CHARLIE HEYMAN PHOTO BY AMY CARROLL

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    Hawk, founder and CEO of H2 builders, Inc. I got a call from

    Todd in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday saying that he

    needed to meet with both of us the next morning at nine o

    clock, recalled Atkins, I was like: Now? William isnt even in

    townCant it wait?

    No, it couldnt.

    So the next day Im knee deep in this three-hour conference

    call, said Court, and my wife is wondering, What could be so

    important to interrupt our vacation? Of course, when I hung up

    and told her what was going on, needless to say everyone was

    pretty excited.

    The bizarre manner in which Court and Atkins found

    themselves involved in the EMHE Beaufort project is hardly a

    surprise when considering the coincidental way they found each

    TODD HAWK (H2 BUILDERS) AND HIS WIFE TRACEY AND SON HUNTER.

    other in the first place. The two had attended the University of

    Cincinnati at the same time, each eventually graduating with

    honors, but they did not meet until 1995 while both interning at

    a Bluffton architecture firm. The two became friends, opened

    a joint venture a few years later, and now they employ interns

    from the University of Cincinnati pool from which they were

    drawn.

    Yet the partners were quick to note that the excitement

    which accompanied such a high-profile invitation soon subsided

    amid the realization of one harsh reality facing their industry

    today: The economy is still hurting. State-wide unemployment

    rates have been setting record highs while housing prices have

    dropped to record lows. The economic downturn of 2007

    affected both Court Atkins and H2 Builderspeople just havent

    been building as many houses.

    Working their way out of the mess Wall Street had started,

    Hawk, Court and Atkins had now stumbled onto a project that

    required them to donate labor, materials, time, energy and all

    their creativity throughout the holiday season until the houses

    slated January completion date. To make matters even more

    challenging, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had just finished

    a build in Savannah a month earlier. The fear was that the same

    PHOTOBY

    CHARLIE

    HEYMAN

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    show in Beaufort might be impractical or perceived as unoriginal

    by the surrounding community.

    There was probably a flurry of second thoughts, conceded

    Court, but James and I just sat down with our staff, told them what

    was on the table and asked for their input. They were unanimous

    in wanting to do it. We all just agreed that the joy of changing

    one familys life forever, in the end, outweighed everything else.

    Hawk had his architectsthey would start working

    immediately and now he would start enlisting the help of the

    other 50 or so sub-contractors needed to make a dream project

    like this a reality. Next he made calls to three Beaufort County-

    based companies: Grayco, J Banks, and World Design Marketing.

    They each came aboard shortly, and three more essential pieces

    of the puzzle fell into place. Grayco agreed to supply and lead theinstallation of lumber needed for the home. We just believe in

    paying it forward. We know how good this community is, and that

    what goes around comes around, said Grayco general manager

    Ben Tomilson. Our only goal is to do good for this family so they

    can get the happiness they deserve.

    J Banks Design Group, a Hilton Head Island-based interior

    design firm, started in 1986 by Joni Vanderslice, signed on next.

    Named one of the fastest growing businesses in South Carolina in

    2010, and with a diverse business portfolio boasting projects all

    over the country as well as in Italy, France, and Spain and an in-

    house design library among the biggest on the East Coast, J Banks

    has been left largely untouched by world-wide recession. The task

    of furnishing the EMHE VIP tent was more an opportunity for this

    thriving local company to continue their longstanding tradition

    of using their good fortune to give back. Since 2003, J Banks hasdonated nearly a quarter of a million dollars to local charities and

    has also established a now-thriving orphanage in Tanzania titled

    The Valentine Project. For this local firm, Extreme Makeover:

    Home Edition Beaufort County was just another way to give back.

    The call to World Design Marketing was a no-brainer for

    Hawk. The award-winning local advertising and marketing firm,

    founded by former Disney marketing director Wayne Johnson,

    has hit several home runs for Hawk and H2 Builders over the years.

    This request howeverto act as the organizational hub, marketing

    and public relations arm and the official voice of the buildwould

    require a major commitment from the WDM staff. Whether it was

    members of the press wanting to talk to Hawk, companies who

    wished to help sponsor, or interested citizens who wanted more

    information, WDM would be the place to call. Branding, website,

    CHEF ROBERT IRVINE WITH ATTENDEES OF THE DINNER POSSIBLE FUNDRAISER.

    PHOTOBY

    AMY

    CARROLL

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    print ads, speech writing, press releases, e-mail blasts, logos,

    slogans, banners, T-shirts, daily Facebook and Twitter updates,

    would all be produced by World Design Marketing staff members

    donating their time and marketing savvy to EMHE Beaufort

    County cause.

    DECEMBER 2010-JANUARY 2011

    Just three weeks after Hawk was approached about the

    planned Beaufort County build, an official announcement was

    made to the public. Everything moved so fast, said Susan

    DAnna, account manager at WDM. When people watch the

    show, its natural to think that theres a ton of planning going on

    behind the scenes, but its really not like that. Everything comes

    together very quickly and we had to be on top of our game.

    Once the announcement was made, people from Beaufort

    County and beyond were flooding the website with volunteer

    applications; companies from all over wanted to give anything

    they could. Chef Robert Irvine, Food Network star and Hilton

    Head Island resident, was in the middle of filming his show:

    Dinner: Impossible, when Wayne Johnson contacted Irvine about

    EMHE. I wanted to get involved from the second I heard about

    it, Irvine said. An avid participant in the renowned Make a Wish

    Foundation and a proud veteran of the Royal British Navy, Irvine

    said he fell in love with the family from the minute he heard their

    story. We all have struggles in life, Irvine continued. Its not a

    question of if, but when, and theres something redeeming about

    stepping up and giving back and helping others. Were all just

    custodians of this planet, and spending a little time giving back

    makes me feel as if were all in the same family, and that no matter

    what, we can get through any hardship. Id like to think that if I

    ever fell on hard times, I would be able to depend on the people

    around me to help me out, too.

    On January 4, 2011, more than a thousand people packed

    into the LowCountry Community Church for the EMHE Pep Rally

    and heard for the first time that Chef Robert would be hosting a

    gourmet dinner fundraising event for the family, themed Dinner:

    Possible. The proceeds from the soon-to-be sold-out event would

    be used for the mortgage and maintenance on the new home.

    One of those men in the pep rally audience that night was

    Mike Covert, CEO of the Covert Aire, a local air conditioning repair

    company. As he listened to Chef Robert and the excitement of the

    roaring crowd around him, Covert made a personal commitment

    to help with the project in any way possible. Founded in 2007,

    Covert Aire is a young and growing company. Providing the air

    conditioning for the EMHE home was simply outside the realm

    of possibility. The company is much too small, and Covert Aire

    doesnt even do air conditioning installation; they specialize in

    repairs. Still, Covert felt strongly that he had to do something

    contribute to the cause in some wayso he walked outside after

    the rally and bought more than $2,000 worth of tickets to Dinner:

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    Possible. Eventually, Covert Aire also became an official corporate

    EMHE Beaufort County sponsor. Why? Simple. It was the right

    thing to do, said Covert in his humble southern drawl. What an

    unbelievable experience; why would we sit and let something like

    this pass?

    The perfect embodiment of what Extreme Makeover: Home

    Edition is all about.

    JANUARY 11TH, 2011

    On Tuesday, Ty Pennington and his crew ambushed The

    Dickinson Family, and the site for the newest Extreme Makeover

    was revealed: 45 Mystic Circle, Beaufort, SC. Marine Staff Sergeant

    Bill Dickinson is in his 17th year of service for the United States

    Marine Corps and has been deployed in Afghanistan since early

    November, 2010. His wife India and their five children are left

    behind trying to live in a flood-destroyed home with a cracked

    foundation and unhealthy mold invading every wall. The house

    is un-sellable, and with each day in the house, the Dickinson

    children get sicker.

    Ordinarily, a standard home building projectfrom

    conception to finished projecttakes between eight to ten

    months. The client calls an architect to start configuring a

    layout. The builders would be involved throughout the process

    and would start work as soon as the house blueprint is fully

    finalized, usually around the three-month mark. The whole

    process is designed to be a very formulaic, organized and

    efficient oneevery step executed according to a specifically

    arranged plan.

    The plan for the EMHE build was slightly different. The philosophy

    was simple: Get in and get it donefast. Weve had some pretty

    demanding clients before, but no one has ever asked me to build a

    house in a week, said Hawk. Its not like we can move the bus and

    then explain to the family why we didnt have time to get the roof on.

    The EMHE production crew demolished the Dickinsons

    home four hours later than scheduled, and the race to catch upwas on. Clean-up duty extended into the night, and construction

    started in the early hours of Thursday morning.

    JANUARY 14TH, 2011

    Hawk, Court and Atkins were on site day and night, closely

    monitoring and recording every movement the blue-shirted

    volunteers were making. There was no order to the chaos, and

    INDIA DICKINSON REACTS TO HER NEW HOME ON A TELECONFERENCE WITH

    HER HUSBAND BILL.

    PHOTOBY

    PAULNURNBERG

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    yet it all got done, smoothly and seamlessly. The houses wiring was being installed the same

    time the walls were being built; the windows were installed before the roof was finishedall

    was according to plan.

    David Justini walked into the construction beehive on Friday evening, day two of the

    build. His company, Porch Outfitters, had three porches to install on the 4,000-sq.-ft. house.The standard timeline for a project like this: two days. The timeline allocated to Porch

    Outfitters to complete the project: less than 12 hours. Im just loving every second, said a

    defiant David Justini earlier that day. Justini had been lured into the project earlier than most

    and seemed more and more confident as his time to work drew closer. Three porches in a

    few hours? That was easy; Greenhouses? Now those were difficult.

    Were going to have so many men working on this lot, theres not a doubt in my

    mind were going to be done in time, said Justini. His prediction proved true. When he

    and his crew packed up their tools, they left in their wake three beautiful porches the

    Dickinson family will surely enjoy for years to come.

    Its just good to know that we helped do something good for a member of our

    community, Justini said. Im honored to be a part of it.

    JANUARY 18TH 2011

    The bus moved on the Tuesday following the family ambush, the mold-ridden house

    with the cracked foundation at 45 Mystic Circle had been replaced by a stunning, two-story

    Lowcountry masterpiece. At one point in the build, construction had been almost a day

    behind, but somehow, it all managed to come together. When she saw her familys beautiful

    (and healthy) home, an overwhelmed India Dickinson thanked God. An exhilarated Todd

    Hawk hugged his wife and son before shaking the hands of those around him. The crowd

    cheered, the Marines roared, and the Dickinson children wept with joy.

    It was a good day in Beaufort County. !