September 16, 2009

Daviess County Homemakers help Extreme Makeover
Daviess County Homemakers help Extreme Makeover
When the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" came to Owensboro, Daviess County Extension Homemakers were presented with a unique opportunity to contribute to the effort and make a positive impact in the lives of one family in their community.

The recipients were the Steve Mattingly family. Mattingly, a volunteer firefighter, was seriously injured when he was run over by a car while directing traffic at a garage fire. His wife Melissa, an EMT, was the first person on the scene and administered life-saving CPR to her husband. As a result of his injuries, Mattingly still has multiple health issues that keep him from working. In addition to her job as an EMT, Melissa works as a massage therapist to support their family. The couple has two daughters who also have medical issues. One recently had a partial knee transplant, and the other has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and recently had hand surgery after an accident.

The show replaced their 700-square-foot trailer with a 3,200-square-foot home.

"I went to the rally for ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' and while there, Veronica Valencia, one of the show's designers, told me they were short on seamstresses. I told them I knew some seamstresses," said Christy Ramey, Daviess County family and consumer sciences agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Ramey put a request for volunteers in her Homemaker newsletter. Nineteen people responded. The group used the county 4-H's sewing machines to complete the project at the Daviess County extension office. They made enough drapes to fit the home's great room, master bedroom and dining room as well as 25 pillows for the master bedroom and great room.

The project had a very quick turnaround. The Homemakers received the fabric and measurements from Heather Hazelwood, another designer on the show, at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 and needed to complete the project by 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. The Homemakers brought the completed drapes to the Mattinglys' new home and made the necessary adjustments. It took about 33.5 hours to complete the project, with Homemakers working many times until the early hours of the morning. An average of 10 volunteers worked every hour, which means the group contributed a total of 3,350 volunteer hours in two days. 

Daviess County Homemakers help Extreme Makeover"We had a good mix of skilled and unskilled sewers with the experienced seamstresses giving direction to those who could only sew straight lines," Ramey said. "It was a new opportunity for some of our Homemakers, who worked with fabric and sewing techniques that were unfamiliar to them. We weren't sure if those grommets were going to penetrate three layers of corduroy, or if the silk would hang correctly backed with the heavier blackout liner fabric. But in the end it all came together exactly as the designers planned it!"

The Mattinglys, who were on vacation in the Bahamas during the transformation, got to see their new home Saturday, Sept. 12.

The show will air later this season on ABC.