Home makeover surprises family

Television show crew, volunteers to rebuild home in a week

When Earnie Graham had an extra $25, she bought bricks and added them to a pile outside her door.

Piece-by-piece, she wanted to complete an expansion of her house started by her father, a retired contractor, and brother five years ago. It would finally give her son Timothy, now 10, a bedroom of his own. He's been sleeping on the sofa since he got too big for his crib.

But when her brother died and her father got cancer, the two-story concrete structure on the corner of McCain Way and Griggs Court was left unfinished.

It seemed hopeless.

"Honey, pray to God and he'll make a way," Earnestine Graham told her daughter when she came to her with concerns. "Once you do what you have to do for God, he'll bring you through."

Earnie prayed. One day she called her mom and said she had decided to apply to ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Thursday morning, she learned she had won.

Now she, her son and 22-year-old daughter Tiffany are off for a vacation to Disneyland in California while Ty Pennington and his crew build the family's dream home.

"It's unbelievable to have this happen. I can barely form sentences," Tiffany said as she prepared to leave the home she's lived in for the last 16 years for the final time.

"The dream is really coming true."

Stephen Beazley, the president of Bill Beazley Homes, said the plan is to completely demolish the house and start from scratch.

"They really deserve it," Beazley said of the family. "There's just no way this (house) was ever going to get finished."

Earnie has a full schedule most days. She balances her time between her job at the Girl Scouts of Historic Augusta, where she puts in extra time to mentor the girls, her schoolwork as a student at University of Phoenix and her dedication to her church, Mt. Calvary Baptist.

Sister-in-law Monica Graham watched from the sidelines as the Extreme Makeover team and volunteers paraded down her street to congratulate the Graham family.

"It's the most excitement this neighborhood has ever seen," she said.

But it was more than that. It means that she'll finally see completion of the work her husband -- Earnie's brother -- began five years ago.

Monica's son, Leanord, edged through the crowd to find Pennington. He said he wanted to ask permission to bring all his school friends and wrestling buddies from Josey High School over to help.

Demolition is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. today with crews working 24 hours a day to ensure the home is complete by the time the family returns next week.

Earnestine said she'll be there with her hard hat on.

"I want to see it from the ground up," she said.

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