Volunteers needed for extreme home makeover
By G. Michael Dobbs
WEST SPRINGFIELD Kent Pecoy is looking for a few good men and women about 3,000 of them.
The veteran homebuilder has been selected by the producers of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" as the contractor for a home makeover for one family in Western Massachusetts.
The popular Emmy-winning show is in its seventh season.
Pecoy, the president of Pecoy Signature Homes, told Reminder Publications that people who are in the building trades concrete contractors, framers and dry wallers are especially needed, as well as folks who want to contribute to the project are urged to volunteer. The best way to offer your services is through a Web site set up for the project at www.extremepecoy.com.
Although workers are needed, contributions of materials and services are part of the makeover as well. Pecoy said all of the building supplies will be donated, but the contributions can go well beyond two by fours, drywall and plumbing. One company has donated a new lawnmower to the family, while another will supply oil changes for the family's vehicles. Scholarships for the children in the family are also being established.
"There are lots and lots of ways to get involved," Pecoy said.
There will be an Extreme Makeover Pep Rally at Bay Path College on Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow on June 12 from 8 a.m. to noon for those who have committed to volunteering as well as those thinking of becoming involved. Pecoy said there will be food and activities and the producers of the show will be present.
One of those volunteers is John Tranghese, who runs Olympic Electric Inc. in Hampden with his son Jack. Tranghese said he will head up a group of 40 electricians who will have the job of wiring the house.
Tranghese said his team will have just 16 hours to complete that phase of the construction and has already had the first meeting to plan how they are going to do it.
"We're going to make it doable," he said. "It's all in the planning."
He was both surprised and honored to be asked by Pecoy to be involved in the makeover.
Having watched the show himself, he said, "It's a feel-good story every time."
Pecoy and his volunteers will have a week starting June 21 to build a new home for a deserving family. Although he knows the producers have been interviewing five prospective families, he has no idea where they live or who they are.
With the design of the house already completed, Pecoy said, "It's all set to go. They just have to tell us where to put it."
When asked how he was selected to head up this effort, Pecoy said with laugh, "I don't know." When the production team first contacted him he thought it was a joke. Later he learned the producers had been in the area for several months preparing for the show and looking for a builder.
"We've been told the families being considered are all very special and very deserving of this honor. At a time when communities everywhere are pulling together in the face of economic hardship, participation in this initiative reminds me just who we are as Americans. This is one of the greatest honors in my 30 years as a homebuilder and general contractor," Pecoy said.