"Extreme Makeover Home Edition" in Pinckneyville

John H. Croessman A visibly emotional Mayor August Kellerman told volunteers at Sunday’s Extreme Makeover post-build rally in the Pinckneyville City Park “You have made all of us proud!” A luncheon courtesy Murphy Wall State Bank & Perry County Marketplace began the afternoon celebration that included this “house signing” at left. Volunteers wrote messages to the residents of Joplin, Mo. as the two completed and wrapped sections of the gifted house were trucked to the rally by Contempri Homes and Sherwood Forest homes, the sponsor builders. The project involves the construction of “Seven Homes” in seven days for tornado-ravaged Joplin.Pinckneyville residents are coming together to lend a hand to tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo.

At midnight Oct. 8, volunteers will assemble at the Contempri Homes plant to begin construction on a modular home that will be escorted to Joplin the next day.

The initiative is part of the "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" challenge to build seven houses in seven days for residents of Joplin, Mo., where more than 160 people died and 7,000 homes were destroyed when an E-5 tornado ripped through the town May 22.

Brad Perry of Contempri Homes said his company was approached by a retailer, Sher-wood Forest Homes of Joplin, to participate in the project.

Tony Philpot of Sherwood Forest Homes said he thought of Contempri Homes because of the good relationship their companies have.

"They are the type of company that when presented with a challenge, they can find a way to get it accomplished," Philpot said.

However, Contempri is swamped with work, and just throwing a new house into the assembly line during normal business hours would be disturbing to workers.

So, as the idea was tossed around to build the house on a weekend, Perry further brainstormed and thought of asking volunteers to come in to the plant and assemble the home overnight when his plant wasn't in production.

"Why not have our own little ‘Extreme Home Makeover' right here," Perry said, "where the community builds the house?"

The project should take between 36 and 40 hours. Factory personnel will supervise anywhere from three to five workers apiece in shifts of two to six hours.

By Sunday afternoon, the house should be completed, shrink-wrapped for travel and signed by volunteers. A procession from Pinckneyville, led by Police Chief John Griffin, will then make the trek to Joplin to deliver the house.

The finishing touches - such as siding and cabinets - will be added beginning Oct. 19 when Extreme Makeover Home Edition arrives in Joplin to film for television.

"We just feel wonderful about it," Perry said. "Everybody is just jumping on board. The workers are all volunteering their time. This is just really turned out to be one of those feel-good events that everybody is having a good time working on."

Philpot said any type of support from outside communities is greatly appreciated in Joplin and felt there were lots of similarities between the two farming communities.

"There aren't people out there waiting for a handout," Philpot said. "You step up and help your neighbor. I think it's going to be a psychological boost for this community, especially for those hesitating, not knowing if they want to build back."

brent.stewart@thesouthern.com

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