Jeff Cooper knew Friday was going to be special as soon as he heard someone shouting outside, telling him and his family to get out of their house in northeastern North Carolina.
Cooper, 44, a disabled Army veteran is married to Clara, 40, with two children, Windy, 16, and Aaron, 13.
On Feb. 23, ABC announced it was going to produce an “Extreme Makeover” show in northeastern North Carolina. The network chose the Cooper family in Martin County.
Cooper served 11 years in the Army as a combat medic, including a stint during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s. He is now wheelchair-bound, suffering from Gulf War Syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis.
ABC plans to air this episode in May.
The Coopers suffered two years ago when their son was hit by a garbage truck. Cooper used his medic skills to save Aaron’s life, but the teen still lost most of his right arm. Despite his hard luck and poor health, Cooper says he has no regrets about serving his country.
ABC is sending the Coopers on a weeklong vacation to Washington D.C. while their new home is being built. Even the family’s seizure-detection dog, Gabby, is making the trip.
Demolition on the Coopers’ home begins Sunday and new construction starts the same day.
“Once we demo, we’re rolling, there’s no stopping,” said John Norris, a Norfolk native and president of Edenton Builders, who is heading up the project.
Norris is relying on more than 6,000 skilled and unskilled volunteers working around the clock to build the house, which should be completed when the Coopers return next Friday. Some have called him crazy for taking on the “Extreme Makeover” project. But he’s glad he said yes when ABC called him nearly five weeks ago, asking if he would build a house in less than a week.
“A builder I talked to who has done this before told me, once you do this, nothing is impossible,” he said.
Norris and architect Jonathan White of Nags Head would not say how big the new home will be or what it will look like. White said the network gave him license to design the home as he saw fit. He promised it will be energy efficient and provide excellent access throughout for Cooper’s wheelchair.
Come see for yourself a breathtaking display of heroic, fast action as the team completes a build in less than 110 hours. Bring your family, enthusiasm and signs and watch this amazing process take place first-hand. Spectators are welcome on the site after demolition. You can watch the build starting Monday, March 9 and watch a the home be constructed in front of your eyes. Spectators can watch daily Monday, March 9 to Friday, March 13 when Ty Pennington and his design team invite you to yell “Move that Bus” when the chosen family arrives home and sees their new home for the first time. Please take a look at the schedule and plan when you would like to visit. The team, contractors and volunteers need all the support they can get.
Check here for Volunteer check-in location >>
Read more about the Cooper family.
Important Spectator Tips
Witness an extreme change and be part of an extraordinary one! Each spectator is asked to bring one canned food item as their admission to the job site. The food items will be used to fill our local food banks. We encourage you to be part of this extreme dream!
The spectator site will be open for guests of all ages from 8a.m.- 8p.m. Monday, March 9 Friday, March 13. Please be prepared for long periods of standing outside. We suggest bringing comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing. There are no covered areas for spectators, but umbrellas are allowed.
Come out and cheer on the Extreme design team, Edenton Builders and all of the volunteers that have been working around the clock to make sure this new home gets finished in time. Bring a sign with a positive message. Just make sure it’s short and visible from a distance!
Guests are encouraged to bring a camera or video camera to capture the memories of this extreme project. Photos of the progress will be posted daily on this site.
No blankets, lawn chairs or coolers are allowed; however feel free to bring water and snacks. There will not be a concession stand on site.
Parking will be available. Learn more about parking.
Although Ty and the other members of the extreme team may be available to sign autographs, their first priority is designing a home for a deserving family so there are no guarantees.
For the safety of the spectators and workers, paramedics will be available and on site during the entire build.
For the safety of everyone involved in the project, please refrain from smoking at the site.
Due to an overwhelming response, no applications for general volunteers are being taken. At this point they are only accepting skilled volunteers. If you are a skilled volunteer, please sign up below.
Click here to see the volunteer schedule
As of right now $35,000 in essential building supplies and materials is still needed
Click here to donate
Read more about John Norris / Edenton Builders and this amazing effort here
Every dollar adds up, so if you can send cash gift of any amount it will help serve the Family. Many Thanks for your support!
Volunteer Check-in is located at the DFI Building at 29333 US Highway 64 in Jamesville, NC
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