published Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Bringing down the house

by Andy Johns

ROSSVILLE — Betty Grable and four friends strain to their tiptoes, peering over the crowd of white hard hats and blue volunteer shirts.

The women, like dozens of other volunteers, are trying to catch a glimpse of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington.

"We were looking for Ty," said Grable, who has the same name as the famous 1940s actress and World War II pinup girl. "We just had to get a glimpse before we went to work."

Their efforts are rewarded because, just before they decide to leave, they see the star of the show as he directs volunteers.

"It was magical," said Mary Berry, who was with the group.

Tracie Bierman, a volunteer from Rossville, got even closer.

"That's Ty with his arm around me, touching my body," she said, showing off a smartphone photo of Pennington.

"I didn't think I'd actually see him," said Bierman, who had posted the photo to Facebook before she even got back to the rest of the volunteers.

But even Pennington couldn't take attention away from the star of Monday's show -- the giant machinery that began ripping down the house just before 3 p.m.

One swipe from an excavator opened a gaping hole in the roof of the house. The walls, frame and the rest of the house crunched apart with every successive strike.

"That big, old machine didn't even know that house was there," said Med Dement, a volunteer from the Highway 58 area.

Now that the house is down, builders will begin a five-day building blitz to finish the home by Saturday when Michael, Cindy and Patrick Sharrock return to their new home. The family left on a noon flight for Disney World in Orlando, but both of Patrick's grandmothers were at the site most of the day.

  • photo
    Ty Pennington films a message for the Sharrock family with cheering volunteers before demolishing their Rossville residence during the second day of filming "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in the Chattanooga area.
    Staff Photo by Dan Henry

Patrick, 9, has brittle bone disease, a condition that makes bones very fragile. He has broken more than 50 bones since he was born, with some breaks caused by the house.

"The flooring was all rotted out," said his grandmother Shirley Sharrock. "It just wasn't safe for him."

She said she's glad hallways, doors and rooms in the new house will be wide enough for Patrick to get his wheelchair around while also providing fewer trip hazards when he's walking.

Patrick's other grandmother, Gail Pedigo, said a new bathroom will be one of the best improvements. Just after Patrick was born, the family struggled to even bathe him without snapping a bone, she recalled.

"He's getting older and he doesn't want Grandma to help him," Pedigo said. "He can do everything for himself, it just needs to be on his level."

Not just the house, located on Monahaw Avenue, but the show will cater to Patrick, who loves superheroes. Celebrity designers Eduardo Xol, Ed Sanders and rapper Xzibit dressed in capes, masks and muscle suits, posing as H2Xol, the English Muffin and Xplosive. The designers formed the "Legion of Demo" and lent their powers to help knock down the building.

"Patrick, the little boy; he likes comic books he likes all of the superhero things," said Leigh Anne Tuohy, one of the designers on "Extreme Makeover." "We kind of just plucked that out and ran with it and added it in to the episode."

Tuohy, who was portrayed by Sandra Bullock in the 2009 movie "The Blind Side," joined the show as a celebrity designer this year. Dressed Monday as the superhero Fortuit-Tuohy, she had the power of strength, which she used to help knock down walls in the filming. Other designers used water and explosives to help the demo.

"I was just all about being a real woman today," Tuohy said.


'Extreme Makeover' meets 'Ross-Vegas'

REPLAY: Monday's live blog from the Extreme Makeover worksite

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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TracieBierman said...

I am SO upset right now. I gave a whole big long spill about how important it was that we as a community remember to keep this spirit of volunteerism and generosity long after the cameras and celebrities leave our area, and all they wrote about me was that I said "Ty touched my body". I think I'm gonna be sick! I didn't want that to be what the press quoted me saying! This is not about Ty Pennington...I just thought it was cool that he let us have our pics made with him! Super mad at the reporter who talked to me today. This is NOT what I wanted him to write about me and my experience at the build site this afternoon. I was VERY specific about wanting the issue of EVERYBODY in our community continuing to pour out charity to people in need after this was over with, AND NOT A WORD OF THAT GOT PRINTED! ARRRRGHH!!

February 15, 2011 at 3:33 a.m.
TracieBierman said...

And before anybody reads this and thinks I'm a moron because I wrote "spill" instead of "spiel" as it should have been spelled, I was too mad to care about my spelling errors when I posted ↑ this ↑ comment.

February 15, 2011 at 4:24 a.m.
rosebud said...

Tracie, you said the words. Don't blame the reporter, he's just doing his job. Let's face it, if the hunk "Ty" had stayed home, many of the volunteers would have left the site (if they had showed up at all).

February 15, 2011 at 9:04 a.m.
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