Home makeover surprises family

Television show crew, volunteers to rebuild home in a week

Lorri Moffatt/Special
Earnie Graham walks with Ty Pennington and the rest of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew to their bus after finding out her family was chosen to receive a new home as part of the reality television program. They surprised her around noon Thursday at the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia's Augusta office, where she works.
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When Earnie Graham had an extra $25, she bought bricks and added them to a pile outside her door.

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Graham would buy a brick whenever she could to set aside to renovate her house at 161 McCain Way.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Graham would buy a brick whenever she could to set aside to renovate her house at 161 McCain Way.

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.

Comments (47) Add comment
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MysteryWriter
0
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MysteryWriter 12/02/10 - 04:46 pm
0
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A very deserving family!

A very deserving family! Congratulations!!!!

Sweet son
11083
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Sweet son 12/02/10 - 04:49 pm
0
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I know it will be forthcoming

I know it will be forthcoming but, where is the house?

onecatfish
5
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onecatfish 12/02/10 - 05:22 pm
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161 McCain Way
Unpublished

161 McCain Way

onecatfish
5
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onecatfish 12/02/10 - 05:32 pm
0
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They will start tomorrow.
Unpublished

They will start tomorrow.

onecatfish
5
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onecatfish 12/02/10 - 05:36 pm
0
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Official Press Release: FOR
Unpublished

Official Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION” TO BUILD HOME FOR AUGUSTA,
GEORGIA FAMILY WHO FACES ADVERSITY WITH
STRENGTH, GRACE AND ABOVE ALL – A SMILE!

Earnie Graham of Augusta and her family learned this morning that Ty Pennington and the gang from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the team from Bill Beazley Homes of Augusta and hundreds of volunteers will build them a new home in just seven days. Construction starts tomorrow at 161 McCain Way.

A spokesman for the popular ABC television network show said, “The energetic and
enthusiastic Earnie Graham is that rare person who seems to know how to do it all. The loving but strict single mom of two works full time, attends college, and still finds time to volunteer and chaperone for the Girl Scouts of the USA. Despite living in a small, deteriorating house, Earnie and her family approach life with strength, grace and above all – a smile.”

Steven Beazley, president of Bill Beazley Homes, said, “Earnie has a zest for life and
recognizes the fact that one doesn’t need money or material possessions to spread good cheer. She was so impressed with what the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia did for her daughter, Tiffany (now 22 years old); she decided to become more involved.

She started working there as a receptionist and has become their much beloved coordinator, in charge of overseeing the cookie and nut sales for her chapter and managing the Girl Scout store. Aside from this full time job, she is in college working on her B.S. Degree, and also makes time to volunteer at the Savannah River Camp Tanglewood Girl Scout Camp.”

John Rhodes, marketing director for Bill Beazley Homes, said his company will recognize Earnie Graham’s commitment to the Girl Scouts by building a log cabin at Camp Tanglewood. Construction started on that project today. Former Girl Scout Tiffany is now enrolled in the police academy with a dream of being in the FBI.

Her 10-year-old brother, Timothy, has been forced to sleep on the couch in the living room ever since he grew out of his crib. Timothy’s grandfather, Ernest Graham, tried to build an extra room for him, but all work on the room ceased when Ernest was diagnosed with cancer.

While Ty and the designers, the team from Bill Beazley Homes and hundreds of volunteers and workers are rebuilding their home, the Graham family will go on vacation to Disneyland. In addition to Pennington, the design team for this episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” design will include designers Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney and Ed Sanders.

The series is produced by Endemol USA, of Endemol Holding, and executive-produced by Brady Connell & George Verschoor. David Goldberg is Chairman, Endemol North America.

dani
12
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dani 12/02/10 - 06:27 pm
0
0
Does anyone know which

Does anyone know which college she attends. This appears to be a deserving person and I am excited for her and her family.

I am horrified though that they met at the abandoned Regency Mall. Is this true.
Sakes alive. Tell me that was said by mistake.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/02/10 - 07:32 pm
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0
I'm very excited for this

I'm very excited for this family. A single mother who is working full time and going to college and has seen to it that her daughter is striving for a higher education....I'd say she is well deserving.

My concern is that once the house is finished, I hope this family doesn't suffer from the punk criminals in this area. I'm sure it will be the number one spot to break into if according to the show all the expensive upgrades they put into these homes. I hope they include an upgraded security system built into the home for their peace of mind. The last thing this family needs to worry about is someone stealing the stuff they have been blessed with.

pommom38
1496
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pommom38 12/02/10 - 07:58 pm
0
0
Well ICL, courtesy of the

Well ICL, courtesy of the press release, any lurkers now know where the place is.
ABC should never tell you the peoples address!
Congrats to this woman, and I hope that she earns enough to upkeep the higher bills she will have when they're done. They do not give every homeowner a paid off deed, nor do they give every homeowner a fortune *trust fund* to keep the bills paid.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 12/02/10 - 08:34 pm
0
0
I agree with you pommom on

I agree with you pommom on the release of the address but I guess something like this in a neighborhood would be hard to keep a secret. I'm sure the property tax alone will be higher not to mention the electric or gas bill depending on the size of the house compared to what she currently has. Of course the news release said small deteriorating, so maybe the electric and gas bill will balance out with a well insulated home. I'm sure her son will enough having his own bedroom though...can't you just imagine the excitement of sleeping in a real bed instead of the couch.

dreamcatcher_ga
15
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dreamcatcher_ga 12/02/10 - 09:41 pm
0
0
The site is no secret. Crews

The site is no secret. Crews have been out there for a couple of weeks cleaning the neighborhood up. The rating game prevails.

ldsmith1
1
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ldsmith1 12/03/10 - 06:09 am
0
0
Perhaps there are families

Perhaps there are families that are more needy. Perhaps they should have contacted the show, too. Earnie threw her name in the hat, and was chosen. Good for her!
I have watched the show and have wondered how the famlilies would cope with higher utility bills, upkeep and higher property taxes. Time will tell.

Martinez
154
Points
Martinez 12/03/10 - 07:06 am
0
0
I would never question why

I would never question why one particular family is chosen over another but I will say this is a rarity for the show to select a single parent. Just a few years ago, you could not even nominate a family that wasn't two parent as it was "not consistent with the image and principals desired for ABC". I lived in a community where they did another build a few years ago and the downside to this is, the family will have people peeping around their property and trying to pray on their fortune of circumstances left and right. Congratulations to the family! And be smart about what you do after the fact.

nofrills
0
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nofrills 12/03/10 - 07:31 am
0
0
Congrats to the family I

Congrats to the family I think? I visited a house they did just one year after it was showcased. The house was in awful shape in just one year because of quick build mistakes. It’s all about ratings. They didn’t care about this house after just one year. The roof leaked because the volunteers didn’t know about flashing, plumbing problems due to cheap parts or the people just didn’t understand what they were doing. Half the wall outlets were crooked in the wall and we spent a day just fixing them. The wood floor was installed without a barrier and begun cupping after just one year in front of the sink. Tile coming loose. We donated about 40 hours of labor on top of paying for needed materials. I urge the people of this community to stop making the rating and go help groups like Habitat or soup kitchen or the many shut in’s we have here. We have many people right here who could use the help and they are good people too. You won’t be on TV but the thanks you get from those you help can’t be measured.

justbeasy
0
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justbeasy 12/03/10 - 07:39 am
0
0
Congrats to the family on

Congrats to the family on their blessing. Hey, for those of you who seemed baffled by the decision, remember favor isn't always fair!!!!

inthearea
15
Points
inthearea 12/03/10 - 07:40 am
0
0
Whether this was the most

Whether this was the most needed family is Augusta or not... It may have been the most needed family that applied. THEY WON!! I'm so happy for them and I will be there starting tonight to help. I'm so happy their prayers have been answered. As all of you should be. Stop being so negative and be happy for the family. And I will be praying that the thugs and criminals will not bother this family.

mc66
0
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mc66 12/03/10 - 07:44 am
0
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Congratulations to this

Congratulations to this family! She submitted her entry and won! Like winning the lottery! Reading stories like this puts a smile on my face for the whole day.

draksig
167
Points
draksig 12/03/10 - 07:51 am
0
0
She feels lucky now. Will

She feels lucky now. Will she still feel lucky when the IRS shows up and informes her the value of the house is taxable income or when her property taxes go up? Many people who have their houses renovated or rebuilt end up loosing them becasue of taxes.

blakkone
72
Points
blakkone 12/03/10 - 07:59 am
0
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I wish all the HATERS would

I wish all the HATERS would be quiet!! If you read, she sent prayers up to GOD and He answered. So instead of venting your frustration because she is getting a new house, AND YOU ARENT, understand the power of GOD and prayer and maybe He will move in your life.

smec29
31
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smec29 12/03/10 - 08:03 am
0
0
Are you people so unhappy in

Are you people so unhappy in your lives that you cant congratulate someone's good fortune? How terribly sad your lives must be.
Ms. Graham & Family: Congrats! May God bless your new home.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 12/03/10 - 08:04 am
0
0
Congrats to the family! It

Congrats to the family! It sure is funny to see these Hollywood honeys bundled up like they are up north yet the family has short sleeves on.

Suzy Q
1
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Suzy Q 12/03/10 - 08:26 am
0
0
Congrats to the family! They

Congrats to the family! They can have a wonderful holiday season in their new home.

The work crews do need to put up a fence (with a gate) when they're done......to keep the place from being looted right after they leave.

poolmom
49
Points
poolmom 12/03/10 - 08:35 am
0
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Awesome to hear. Nothing

Awesome to hear. Nothing wrong with meeting at the old regency Mall dani!

poolmom
49
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poolmom 12/03/10 - 08:36 am
0
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I think Beazley will make

I think Beazley will make sure the home is built properly also.

blakkone
72
Points
blakkone 12/03/10 - 08:46 am
0
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I think so too

I think so too Poolmom...besides, isnt the show compensating the builders for their work? Im not sure how the show works so i'm just asking...

bigdog
0
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bigdog 12/03/10 - 09:14 am
0
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here is some insight. you

here is some insight. you will not get anywhere close to the site if you want to look. there is tight security in a 5 block radius of the address. you cannot get near unless you are working there.

swinter05
5
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swinter05 12/03/10 - 09:14 am
0
0
I am very excited for the

I am very excited for the family and prayers do work. I just wish that there was some common sense used behind the decision to rebuild in that neighborhood. I don't know how the show works, so not sure if they are capable of relocating the family....as this would be the logical thing to do. I just don't want it to be a failure for the family's sake and don't want hours and hours of volunteers' time to be wasted. Happy for the family I am....but not happy thoughts thinking of what may come after all the cameras and buses are gone. I wish them the best!!!

bigdog
0
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bigdog 12/03/10 - 09:22 am
0
0
I have lost all respect for

I have lost all respect for this show. the real victims of this are the subcontractors who have to pay for the materials, labor, insurance etc. and receive 0! oh yeah the builder looks like a real hero, but muscles the subs into doing their work for free. bad enough the economy sucks but now they have to do free work and pay for materials. ABC makes all the money, ratings. Beazly looks like he is donating everything but thats all B.S watch the show. do you ever see a subcontractor's name mentioned?

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 12/03/10 - 09:31 am
0
0
swinter I have to agree. A

swinter I have to agree. A 2200 sq ft home in that area concerns me. I hope they provide a high fence and security system for them to keep them from being victimized by our more criminal citizens. She seems like a smart person, I think she will make it all work if anyone can.

schnauzer
0
Points
schnauzer 12/03/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
I think the earlier post was

I think the earlier post was in frustration of wanting to fix a situation for their children and feeling desperate enough to apply for the extreme makeover. The family did apply and your right they just didn't win. That is OK. The family has also prayed and they will pray some more. They will also ask forgiveness for coming across as envious of the Graham family. That is really not the intent. It was more frustration. There are needs all over the community and I know the situation I am familiar with is far worse on a day to day basis than most will ever have. Perhaps God will send an alternate source for help not necessarily a completely new house, just much needed rennovations. Congratulations to Mrs. Graham and her family.

Aroundtown
50
Points
Aroundtown 12/03/10 - 11:34 am
0
0
I just think that it's funny

I just think that it's funny that the "Northerners" are all wearing thick coats, hats & Scarves (In the pics)...and Mrs. Graham and her family are wearing short sleeves...
Just an observation. (I guess that this kind of EXTREME excitement would warm me up too!)
Congrats to them.

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