EMHE: The Dolan Family (Currently filming)
The Extreme Makeover Home Edition team is here locally in St. Petersburg Florida filming. The family has gone through quite a bit, with the husband losing his eyesight in a shooting at the Radio Shack where he worked. He is the only survivor of the shooting, in which the gunman just came in an opened fire for no apparent reason.
I'm going to try to take a drive over there to check things out. It's a wonderful end to such a tragic story for this family and it sounds like the neighbors are very supportive.
Here is the story from TBO.com:
Blinded In Shooting, But Spirits, New Home, Rising
By KATHY STEELE
ST. PETERSBURG - The clock starts ticking for construction crews on Tuesday. In four days and nine hours, an upscale home will rise. And James ``Jamie'' Dolan and his family will get the key to their new front door.
It will be the second life-altering experience for the Dolans in little more than three months.
In November a man shot up a St. Petersburg RadioShack, killing two people and permanently blinding Dolan, who was a manager-in-training at the electronics store. The shooter, St. Petersburg resident Jason Cudar, committed suicide.
On Sunday around 7 a.m., the Dolans opened their door to hear a bright ``Good morning, Dolan family'' from home maker-over hunk and carpenter, Ty Pennington, of ``Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.''
For the next week, the family will lie on warm Puerto Rican beaches for an all-expenses- paid vacation, while construction workers tear down their modest, nearly 40-year-old home with the leaky roof. On Sunday, they will take possession of a brand new five-bedroom, three-bathroom house on the same lot in Bay Pines Estates, on 99th Way North, in the southwestern area of Pinellas County. Built by Lexington Homes of New Port Richey, the home's market value will be about $400,000.
``It's exciting. It's fun,'' said Dolan on Sunday as he faced the kind of media attention that the family had shunned in the weeks after Dolan's injury.
``It was too much pain to have it broadcast,'' said Dolan's mother, Cathey. ``This is the happy time.''
A Bright Spot In `Pitch Black'
James Dolan spent weeks in the hospital recuperating before returning home to his wife, Chrissy, sons Charlie, 12, J.T., 3, and daughter, Haley, 6. Next on his agenda is an assistance dog and maybe a return to college.
Until Sunday morning, the Dolans knew only that they were one of five finalists in the running for the makeover. The hardest part of life at home has been the clutter that he sometimes stumbles over, and the walls that ``jut in places where they should not jut.''
He is adjusting to a world without sight.
``Think of the darkest place you've been and make it darker,'' Dolan said. ``This is the pitchest, pitch black.''
Faith and family have kept him strong, Dolan said.
``It's these guys who make you realize how lucky we have it,'' Pennington said.
Craig Gallagher, president of Lexington Homes, said his company was eager to help the Dolans for its first venture with reality television.
``You'd be hard pressed to find a more deserving family,'' Gallagher said.
More than 1,000 people will work on the project, and they will have to move at warp speed, day and night.
Normal construction time would be about 210 days.
Take the drywall, for instance. On routine jobs it would take about eight days and fewer than a dozen people.
Not this week.
``You bring in a army of manpower,'' Gallagher said. ``It will take 80 people to get it done in six hours.''
The finished home of 3,500 square feet - almost doubling the size of Dolan's existing home - will be state-of-the- art with wide hallways, an organized, easy-to-navigate floor plan and special voice-recognition features.
The new house is the talk of the neighborhood, an older subdivision of modest single- family residences built in the 1960s. It's an enclave with a St. Petersburg mailing address but part of unincorporated Pinellas County.
``This will be the showplace of the neighborhood,'' said neighbor Bob Harlacher. ``It'll be the Taj Mahal.''
The response of neighbors, and in some cases total strangers, has been uplifting, Cathey Dolan said.
A prayer chain started through the Internet.
On some road trips for ``Extreme Makeover,'' neighbors haven't universally welcomed a television crew and construction workers who set up tents and took over a neighborhood for a week.
``Not one neighbor complained,'' Cathey Dolan said. ``Some are volunteering to serve food and help any way they can.''
Helen Haire, 80, lives two doors away. On Sunday, she mingled with crowds that ebbed and flowed all day, watching the show from behind barricades. Children rode by on their bicycles. Moms pushed toddlers in strollers. One family arrived from church in their Sunday best.
Eduardo Xol, the show's landscape designer, took a break from filming and played kickballwith the Dolan children and their friends. Constance Ramos, the show's designer in charge of building and planning, strolled the street with Haley Dolan in tow.
``Of course, I can put up with it,'' Haire said. ``It's going to bring people so much happiness.''
Dolan's Extreme Home Makeover Update...
I had a chance to stop by on Friday (finally got there around 3:45 p.m.) and what an awesome experience. I couldn't resist with this going on so close to my home and being my number one favorite reality show to swing on by. The joy on everyones face from the smallest child to the eldest. I was at a viewing side where there weren't alot of people - the food side. The volunteers came over to talk/greet us. We congratulated them, asked questions, applauded them :yay ... Rick from Lexington homes chatted with us, we were also informed by one of the volunteer carpenters that it was the first time a house was built within 76 hours - a record set for the show (we wondered why there was so much cheering going on in front of the house by the volunteer carpenters and Lexington Home volunteers).
Trucks with mulch and sod passed us, and a truck with plants/flowers were emptied within minutes... A few of the Devil Ray baseball players even stopped by.
In the midst of all the excitement, we saw Paul, Ty running around as usual, Constance, Eduardo whom we were so lucky and excited he came to our side - after a few attempts to get his attention - to greet his admirers, sign a few jeans on the leg, pose for pictures... I thanked him in Spanish and in English for his dedication and work for all the families.
Spectators, fans,.. kept coming and going. Rick of Lexington Homes and a two volunteers offered us homemade cookies. It sure hit the hunger spot, lucky I had water in my bag to wash my cookie down.
Later on the evening before I Ieft around 10:00 p.m. I took a walk around the block to the other viewing area where there was a bigger crowd. I saw Paul in his wood working area, Ty running back to the house... A different view of the house.
Hopefully I'll make it back for the finale and welcome home of the Dolan's on Sunday.
It was an hour drive back home but it was an hour of remembering the awesome/memorable experience I had just being a spectator. Next time Extreme Home Makeover is in town I'll have my hammer, my paint brush, shovel... in my hands... :heart
THANKS/GRACIAS TO EXTREME MAKEOVER HOME EDITION STAFF AND THE NUMEROUS SKILLED AND UNSKILLED VOLUNTEERS FOR ALL YOU DO/HAVE DONE... GOD BLESS!!
Stopped by on on Thursday Night
We took a drive over on Thursday Night, it's about a 10-15 drive from our house. How amazing to see this beautiful home all lit up! We had a great time, talking with the volunteers and seeing Paul, Constance and Eduardo. I think Ty was at the home which was just built in Hastings, FL. We have other plans today, but really wanted to be there for the family coming home. We are so excited to see it when it airs and are so proud that our area came through for this deserving family. Lexington Homes has even acquired a seeing-eye dog for Jamie, Lexie is her name and even though she is just a puppy right now, she will be a wonderful companion soon.