How about change? Do we all have the ability to embrace change?
Well, my friends, it is not important to answer that for anyone other than ourselves as individuals. This week's episode illustrates there are many who believe change is possible.
Set in the hills of Fairmont, West Virginia, Richard and Angie Turner are ideal role models of what it means to 'turn your life around for the
better.' Throughout their youth, life dealt the couple extreme challenges that could have very well set them far from where they are today. However, through much strength and determination both Richard and Angie's lives are now dedicated to helping and educating people to lead a healthier life through positive change.
When the couple married in 2003, Angie and her children Desmond, Theresa, and Tyron learned first hand what it means to embrace change by opening up their hearts and home to Richard and his daughter Layton. However, their compassion didn't stop there. The couple soon adopted Richard's 13-year-old cousin Michael, who was facing a rocky path. Change is something this blended family embraced and quickly achieved together.
Richard and Angie are not only devoted parents, but they are also dedicated role models to many children in the Fairmont community. They both mentor and motivate at-risk kids to stay off the streets, through counseling and sporting programs, which has proven successful for this compassionate couple. In addition to their community services, Richard and Angie are care takers to the mentally challenged, aiding them to gain independence.
With the focus often directed toward others, Richard and Angie's house has definitely taken a back seat. Allow me to just say, it was time for the family home to change!
As we drove toward the Turner's, we quickly realized that the bus wasn't
going to make it up the steep road before us. So, Tanya, Eduardo, Ed, Ty and myself set out on foot and hiked up to the house. As we rounded the corner of their street, I set my eyes on a small run down looking structure. I couldn't believe it when Ty said, "That's the Turner's home." I knew in that moment that not only were the Turners deserving of our help, they needed our help. It was hard for me to grasp that a family of seven were sharing such a small space.
On closer inspection, you could see why the Turner's 600 square feet home was desperately in need of change. In addition to it being small, the structure was literally rotting around them. Cabinets in the kitchen were falling off, the flooring was unstable and to sit in the living room as a family was a challenge in and of itself.
It felt so good to know we were now going to reverse the roles and make
a difference in their lives. However, changing the lives of a family in
seven days is not possible without the help of a building firm that knows and believes in what they are doing. With over twenty years of experience, Huffman Corporation is the finest building company in the state and they took on the challenge with great pride. Wayne Huffman, Mark Ell, Roy Mooney and their committed team exceeded all our expectations.
As the week progressed so did the weather. We faced rain, sleet, and snow but that didn't stop us, or the generosity of volunteers. First mission: Pave a new road so we could have access to the house for construction. If the bus couldn't make the turn, you can bet the builders were going to be in trouble too. This is where the City of Fairmont stepped in. They appealed to the Governor and brought the state together to re-pave and re-build the road, helping the entire neighborhood to get access up the hillside. We could not have completed our task without them. The number of people that came together in
respect and appreciating for the Turner family amazed me. I remember one morning working along side a volunteer in the snow and I asked, "Why are you here today?" What I got back in return warmed my heart dearly and inspired me to get Teresa and Layton's rooms just right. The man simply said, "Richard made me believe in the possibility of change. Since I met him, my life has changed for the good. Now it's time for me to help make a change in his life."
What we achieve in a week is quite remarkable. It stirs up courage and
commitment in so many lives. Sometimes I wonder, is it the family who is being blessed or is it us in fact who receive the most from the experience. The Turner family has definitely created an impact in their community and their story encouraged me to question what positive changes can I make in my life.
I hope this week's episode inspires you to make changes in your own lives and community. To learn more about how you can help change the lives of people like the Turner's, click
ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition airs Sundays at 8 pm/ET