Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Walter Shinn.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a show known for bringing tears of joy to families who witness a dramatic reconstruction of their homes. During a recent production a few Coast Guardsmen were on hand in Fayetteville, N.C., to participate in the unveiling of a 5,000-square-foot house rebuilt for Barbara Summey Marshall, who served 15 years in the Navy.
Marshall shares her home with the Steps N Stages Jubilee House, which provides shelter, support and mentoring services to homeless female veterans. Coast Guard men and women hold close relationships with the communities in which they live and serve, so it was only fitting that they would lend a hand.
Coast Guardsmen were able to participate in the rebuilding of the new home, which started by tearing down the old one. A giant rope was fastened around the house and led across the state of North Carolina to the ocean where a rescue boat from Station Oak Island helped bring the old house down. The rope, as it crossed the state before being handed off to Coast Guardsmen, symbolized the unity of effort and level of support for a woman who was truly affecting change in her community.
More than three thousand military and civilian volunteers worked around the clock to transform Marshall’s 1,600-square-foot house into a 5,000-square-foot home for her work in the veteran community to continue.
After the demanding days of rebuilding by thousands of volunteers, Coast Guardsmen from Coast Guard Cutter Diligence and Station Oak Island attended the unveiling of the new home alongside other servicemembers and members of the community. The presence of the servicemembers signaled not only their support for Marshall but also their utmost respect for her ability to change the lives of homeless veterans.
The opportunity was especially touching for the Coast Guardsmen as they reflected on the Year of the Coast Guard Family – a campaign to foster resilient Coast Guard members and military families.
“It was great to see the family’s reaction,” said Ensign Andrew Price, stationed aboard Diligence. “I can only imagine the joy and gratitude they felt towards the crew of Extreme Makeover and all the volunteers that helped build the house. You could definitely tell from the outside that a lot of hard work and professional expertise went into the renovations.”
The episode aired last night and can be viewed online at the Extreme Makeover Home Edition website.