"Extreme Makeover" helps build seven Joplin homes in a week

Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:06am EDT
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By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Seven families whose house were destroyed in the May 22 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, will get new homes on Wednesday, thanks to volunteer labor and donated materials and ABC's "Extreme Makeover."

The new homes were built in just seven days, all on the same Joplin street, as part of ABC's show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" series. Show officials selected the seven families who got the new homes. They live in various parts of town.

Nearly 14,000 people, about one-third of them skilled workers, volunteered their time to build the houses and provide other services during construction, said Sam Clifton, who oversaw the project as president of Millstone Custom Homes, based in Nixa, Missouri. Some of the helpers lost homes of their own, Clifton said.

The first new home was shown on Wednesday during ABC's "Good Morning America" show and the other six will be shown later in the day, a show spokeswoman said.

The houses were built on foundations of homes wiped out by the EF-5 tornado, which destroyed some 9,000 homes and businesses and took 162 lives. Building seven houses in seven days required putting a lot of faith in work crews, Clifton said.

"It was getting the right people and not micro-managing them," Clifton said. "You have to let them do their own thing."

The houses range from 1,300 to 2,000 square feet and were built to suit the needs of the individual families, Clifton said.

(Writing and reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)