published Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Extremely welcome


by Andy Johns

As the long black limousine pulled onto Monanaw Avenue on Saturday afternoon, 2,000 spectators and volunteers erupted in cheers.

When the limo stopped and a cameraman hopped out with a stand-in family, the cheering dropped off like a pallet of shingles.

The practice run, so the crew could check logistics and camera locations, was just a reminder that "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is equal parts reality and Hollywood magic.

But when the limo returned with the Sharrock family about 4:20 p.m., the roar suggested the crowd knew it was the real deal.

Fresh from a Disney World vacation, the family was greeted by celebrity designers Ty Pennington, Eduardo Xol, Ed Sanders and Xzibit.

The crowd kept the cheer going until the famous "Extreme Makeover" bus rolled out of the family's view, allowing them to see their new house for the first time: an Irish-cottage style home of mocha and chocolate stone with sky-blue shutters.

"It looks super," 9-year-old Patrick shouted above the din.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Allison Carter/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Workers wrap up the Extreme Makeover home Saturday in Rossville.

Patrick bounced in dad Michael's arms and pointed at different parts of the house before the family headed down the pathway through their new lawn for a few shots with the camera crew.

The spectators broke into cheers of "Patrick, Patrick, Patrick!"

After about 10 minutes of filming, Michael and Cindy finally opened the pecan-colored wooden front door to explore the rooms of their new home.

Pennington and a gaggle of cameramen sneaked in through the garage to catch the family's reaction to the new rooms.

About 6 p.m., the Sharrocks emerged with Patrick jumping around, dancing and walking like an Egyptian as the crowd cheered.

Officials said the family members would not be available for comment Saturday night, but would hold a news conference at 9 a.m. today.

DAY 1: Good mooorning, Sharrock family!

"Makeover" host Ty Pennington and company surprised Michael, Cindy and Patrick Sharrock at the Creative Discovery Museum. Celebrity designers Eduardo Xol, Ed Sanders, Xzibit and Leigh Anne Tuohy spent time with the family to get ideas for the house.

DAY 2: Demo Day

The film crew taped shots around the house before a superhero-themed demolition began about 2 p.m. An excavator began tearing the house to pieces just before 3 p.m. The Sharrocks flew to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., about noon.

DAY 3: The build begins

At 1 a.m., the builders called in an engineer and emergency loads of gravel to fill in a void left by an old septic system. Workers finished the foundation work in the afternoon, about eight hours behind schedule. After dark, crews started work on the floor joists and subfloor.

DAY 4: Up go the walls

Crews raised the walls in the early morning hours and installed paneling and shingles on the roof. They also installed windows, poured a pad for a special therapy swimming pool and sent an army of drywall installers inside to hang wall panels.

DAY 5: The exterior takes shape

Before lunch, builders finished stonework on the front and sides of the house. They began work on a retaining wall on the downhill side of the property to level the yard. Carpenters worked on furniture specially designed to be accessible for Patrick.

DAY 6: The final push

By 10 a.m., crews were back on schedule. They spent the day working on the retaining wall outside and touching up paint and installing appliances inside. Early in the morning crews poured the driveway, installed gutters and planted bushes in the flower beds.

DAY 7: The reveal

Crews completed the final touches, cleaning and polishing inside and out. The crew and cast filmed shots around the home with celebrity designers explaining special projects aimed at helping Patrick navigate the home. Spectators began arriving early, seeking good vantage points for the dramatic reveal. That took place about 4:20 p.m. when the Sharrocks excitedly toured their new home.

-- Compiled by staff writer Andy Johns

Patrick's grandmother Shirley Sharrock earlier had predicted the family would "fall to pieces" when they saw the house.

"They will love it all," she said. "I want to see them come home."

Just before the family arrived, Executive Producer Brady Connell said that the mortgage for the home has been paid. In addition, he said, the Sharrocks will have a medical therapy fund from CVS Pharmacy, and scholarships from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will allow Michael Sharrock to finish college and Patrick to attend when he is old enough.

Connell also announced that the Rossville episode, which is to air at the end of April, would be the last for celebrity designer Eduardo Xol, who he said was pursuing other ventures.

"It's almost too much to say," Xol said, speaking about his experience on the show exclusively to the Chattanooga Times Free Press after the reveal. "I've been mentored, and I've been a mentor."

The crowd, which started to form before 8 a.m. Saturday, roared anytime Xol, Sanders or especially Pennington passed through the area.

"We're going to get the cheers rowdy," said Mary Jo Winton, of Soddy-Daisy, who carried a red heart on a stick that said "I (heart) Patrick."

Family friend Dianne Chitty held a sign bearing Patrick's photo and the message, "Welcome home to our super hero" playing off of the show's comic book theme.

The whole "Extreme Makeover" project was aimed at helping Patrick, who has brittle-bone disease. Though he is physically frail, his spirit charmed the show's cast and crew as well as volunteers and spectators.

"His imagination is really off the charts," Chitty said. "He really is a superhero; he just doesn't realize it."

Builders Jason Willard and Craig Smith, who had most of the hard work done by Saturday morning, said they would try to soak up some of the atmosphere at the reveal.

"We're going to really focus on enjoying today and taking the moment in," said Smith, who shed a few tears at a morning news conference. "If there's a paint touchup not done, I don't think Patrick's going to care."

The builders said at times they were nine to 10 hours behind schedule and counted on extra efforts from volunteers. At one point in the week, volunteers chartered a plane to South Alabama to rush the delivery of a special tile adhesive to the build.

Willard said he couldn't wait for the Sharrock family to see their new house, especially Patrick.

"He's excited when he shouldn't be and he's got something to be excited about today," Willard said.

Poll
Did you volunteer on the "Extreme Makeover" project?
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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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Debbi said...

Great job on this article and your work on the Live Feed, Andy. TFP has had the best coverage!

February 20, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
heresmeliag said...

I am so happy for this family, it brings tears to my eyes to see the home that was built for them and to see that young boy so very happy. A BIG thank you to Extreme Makeover and to all of those who help this family out GREAT WORK EVERYONE !

February 20, 2011 at 12:27 p.m.
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