'Extremism' we agree with

Imagine the can-do spirit of ABC show thriving in Augusta year-round
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteers paraded to the home of Earnie Graham in Augusta on Dec. 2. About 4,000 helped in the project.

So you saw the show, right?


Augustans saw the churn of activity in December when ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition swooped into town to work its magic on a family in need of a new home.

Viewers here and nationwide got the "big reveal" Sunday evening when the show finally aired, and you could feel the energy through the screen. It splendidly documented how Earnie Graham and her two children got a wonderful new three-bedroom home on McCain Way in their Belle Terrace neighborhood.

But the TV show built much more than a house. It built a stronger confidence within our community that great things can be accomplished when we reach out to one another.

We should all build on that.

There's an aspect of the TV show ABC doesn't trumpet: The legions of workers who descend on the work site during the episode aren't just focused on one family's home. During the work week they take over the whole neighborhood, offering to make repairs on surrounding properties.

And boy, did they in Belle Terrace. New shingles. New siding. New mailboxes. Window repairs. Chimney repairs. Re-sodded yards.

That's not Hollywood magic, either.

ABC will be the first to tell you it's not in the business of building homes. It manufactures entertainment. It merely facilitates what is carried out by the thousands of local volunteers -- who share the love, absorb the spirit of giving and make the real magic happen.

And that magic doesn't have to leave town just because the ABC trucks did.

Thankfully, it hasn't. Stephen Beazley of Bill Beazley Homes was sapped to exhaustion during the frenetic Extreme Makeover experience. He also called it "the greatest experience of my life." If there's another accomplishment in his life that comes close to it, he can't think of it.

Not that he has the time. Since Extreme Makeover, Beazley said he intends to start a charitable foundation to help fund more of these kinds of amazing projects.

And he's just one person. About 4,000 volunteers helped culminate the Miracle on McCain Way. Imagine Beazley's selfless ambition multiplied by 4,000, and spread through the parts of Augusta that need it most. Imagine projects with the energy of Extreme Makeover happening year-round, fueled by armies of caring citizens.

ABC helped plant a seed in Augusta during its visit last month.

Now it's up to Augustans to help it grow.



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