The television show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," could be coming to this neck of the woods, and it has selected The Fusion Companies—based in Annapolis—to be its go-to builder.
One thing though—Fusion needs a deserving person or family in the area before any of this can happen.
"If we don't find a family, we don't have a show," said Wes Sims, president of The Fusion Companies, which is located on Prince George Street. "Nothing happens until that's crossed off the list."
Fusion is utilizing social media to spread the word that they need a deserving person or family.
If you haven't watched the show before, families who have given of themselves, who may or may not be dealing with physical, emotional, environmental or financial issues and who would greatly benefit from a new home are among those frequently selected.
Ideally, the sooner, the better for identifying a family.
"We would like to build in the fall," said Sims. "From a logistical standpoint, it's easier to build when it's not hot and not freezing."
Sims said they've also talked to "people at the Naval Academy and some people at the Wounded Warrior Project." Though he said Fusion is not counting out any deserving families, there is some focus on the U.S. military.
"We've pushed our attention to find a local military family," explained Sims. "As a company, we have a lot of interest in giving back to the armed forces—we have a pretty long family Naval history."
He then brought geography into play.
"Annapolis—right?" said Sims. "My grandfather was a submarine captain in World War II and was a graduate of the Class of '42."
How did all of this come about for the three-year-old company?
"We participated on one of their builds in the past," explained Sims.
One thing you should know about The Fusion Companies—they specialize in eco-friendly/green building projects.
"To help on the Virginia Beach project, we donated a 10-year carbon offset in the name of the family," Sims said.
Ways You Can Get Involved
If you want your 15 minutes of fame or in this case, 60 minutes less commercials, there are plenty of opportunities to be on the show and do a good deed at the same time.
Fusion will require a lot of community support to help build the home.
"We need a lot of skilled trade people to volunteer—carpenters, plumbers, electricians," said Sims. "Everyone it takes to finish a house in a week."
Yes, you read that right—a week is all the time given to build a house from the ground up.
That said, Fusion needs a lot more help. An "incredible" amount of help, said Sims.
"From the community, it helps to have people that will dedicate some time to logistical support —moving things around, preparing meals for the crew and tradespeople on the job site and general maintenance, as well as just being part of the process, providing energy and motivation," explained Sims.
Having first-hand knowledge, Sims said it's an experience like none other.
"The best part of being on a build—just being able to be a part of it," he said. "It's an incredible, personal experience. You quite literally get an opportunity to change someone's life—it seems Hollywood, but it's very real for the family."
That plus, it can rally a community.
"Volunteerism and participation in the community is the biggest gift the show gives," said Sims.
Diane Korman, senior producer of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," concurred.
"'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' is all about neighbors helping neighbors and community coming together," she said, in an email. "It takes thousands of volunteers to come together and build a house in a week. Its critical to find a builder who will waive their fees and work for free. Every nail, stick of wood and piece of furniture will be donated to help a deserving family. It's more than a show, it's about changing lives."
First Lady to Appear in Upcoming Episode
Even the White House seems to have taken notice.
According to a release issued this week by ABC, "As part of her Joining Forces initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" episode featuring the Marshalls. Barbara Marshall is a 15-year Navy veteran who is working to end homelessness among female veterans. Barbara created The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House which provides homeless female veterans with housing and support services. Mrs. Obama and the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team will help build a new Jubilee House that can serve multiple families and act as a resource center for female veterans."
According to the statement, the episode, being filmed in North Carolina and featuring the First Lady, will air in October.
Since this area is a lot closer to the White House then North Carolina, had the thought occured to Sims that this might be a great opportunity to invite the First Lady?
"I hadn't thought about that, but it sounds intriguing," he said.
Even though Fusion is located in Annapolis, the participating person/family can be from the surrounding area.
"Since Fusion Homes is based in Annapolis, MD we’d like to find a family in their community, but we are also open to homes within a 30 mile radius," said Korman.
If you know a deserving person/family, follow the instructions on the PDF file accompanying this article to nominate them.