Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's Ed Sanders on the Hill Family
Gloria Gilbert Stoga, Glenn Close, Paul Dimeo
Okay gang, this week we are in Franklin County, Kansas in a beautiful little town called Ottawa. It's a lovely little place and we're here to help the Hill family: Mom, Gina, and her two sons, Makale and little Dreyson. It really should be a family of four because dad, Allen, should be with them, but, for the last year, he's been over on the West Coast in California, receiving very much needed therapeutic help for a very serious condition that he got when he was serving in the Iraq War.
Allen Hill is an absolute hero. He not only served one tour in Iraq, he volunteered for a second tour and it was the second tour where he sustained his injury by an improvised explosive device known as an IED on the side of the road. Fortunately, he lived, but it was such a huge explosion that rocked his whole body that he now suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) This can be triggered by anything. Any sudden noise can take him back to Iraq. It became painfully apparent to Allen and his family that he just wasn't ready to come home and that he needed to get some additional help. So for the last eleven months he's been seeking additional treatment and I think he's finally beginning to see his old self coming back. So our number one priority this week is to build this family a home that is quiet and has special elements installed that will help with Allen's condition, but what's really exciting is that we will be bringing this family back together.
For my portion of their new home, I'm really focusing on little Dreyson's room. Now, this kid is a budding actor and he's already done a few local productions, which he thoroughly enjoyed, so I think what we need to do is keep on the theme of acting for this kid. I've got some great ideas in his room. What we're going to try and do is make his bedroom look like the backlot of a movie studio. When I say backlot, I mean huge, great big screens that have different sets and scenes on each one. We've got costumes. We've got props. He'll have everything he needs to go to town and act his little heart out. I think the idea at the end of the day here is to make him feel like every time he walks into his bedroom, he is on camera.
As you all know, building a house in seven days is tough. Imagine building a house in seven days when it is 100 degrees Fahrenheit plus, and it is possibly one of the hottest days in Kansas' history. The heat index was through the roof. It was absolutely diabolical. You were just drenched with sweat. It was amazing to see the volunteers power through and keep on working regardless of the incredible elements. Of course, leading the way were our wonderful builders from M.A.C Corporations and Canyon Creek Construction, LLC. Hats off to all of them. It was absolutely incredible to see what they were able to do.
Among everything else this week we had a very special guest — Ms. Glenn Close. America, I am a happily married man but if I weren't, I would marry Ms. Close in a heartbeat. She is an absolute angel. This woman is so down to earth and she actually nominated the family because she felt so strongly about Allen's condition, Ms. Close founded an organization called Bring Change 2 Mind to help families suffering from mental illness and this is how she met the Hill family. To have her come out on site during one of Kansas' hottest weeks on record is nothing short of amazing. There she was at the beginning of the week on the bus tape that we watched nominating the Hill family and then she came out to help during the week with all guns blazing. She was just so invested in this story, trying to make a real home for Allen Hill and his wife as well as try to raise awareness and fight the stigma surrounded by PTSD and other mental illnesses. She is an absolute darling.
Whenever we do a project I always try to find something to take away and this week is no exception. All week we've heard Allen and Gina both say that they can't go back and regain the time they've spent apart. We all say that life goes quick and you've got to enjoy every little bit of it. You really do have to enjoy it. Quit moaning about the small things and just enjoy what you've got. Allen has a wife that stood by him and continues to stand by him throughout his PTSD. He has two beautiful kids and really has a lot to be thankful for. All of you people watching tonight look over to your mum and dad, look over to your kids, or to whoever is important to you and give them a bloody big hug!