A family near West Union is getting a new home courtesy of a national television program. The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is building the home for Audrey Gibbs and her six children. Gibbs lost her husband to cancer in August of 2000 and then seven months later developed a brain aneurysm where a quarter of her brain was affected, leaving her legally blind.
That medical condition meant the loss of her cosmetology career. Show producer, George Verschoor says the family has been sent to Florida for a week long vacation while crews and volunteers work to build the family a brand new home.
Verschoor says they have seven days to finish the house and will give it to the family on Sunday. Verschoor says he’s used to helping build homes in the bigger cities but says it’s a nice change of pace to build on a farm in rural northern Iowa with so much space but it also presents challenges.
He says it’s nice to have a lot of room, as they have five acres to line up their trucks and equipment and they can all work at the same time. A neighbor even chopped down some corn to give them more room. On the other hand, he says they have had to go a little wider in their search for volunteers.
Verschoor says that’s why volunteers are essential to getting the project finished. He says that the show’s crew has already noticed that Iowans come together to help their neighbors. He says they have seen all the surround farm families come together to help and that’s the theme they are using.
“There are a lot of people out here in West Union already helping us, and it’s not just the immediate neighborhood, people are coming from a wide area to join us,” Verschoor says.
Audrey Gibb’s sister, Michelle Carpenter, said that neither her or Gibb’s believed it when the heard the news. Carpenter says her sister probably won’t believe it’s true until she sees it. Carpenter said that she learned of the good news through a phone call on Sunday and when she arrived at the home, the excitement was overwhelming.
She says there were already spectators lined up along the highway when she got there. The farm style house will have several themes throughout, but the details won’t be released until the episode airs.
For more information on how to give to the effort or to volunteer,go to:www.joinextreme.com/iowa.
The show airs on Sunday at 7 p.m. (CST) on A.B.C.
By Chris Berg,KCHA, Charles City