Quincy Township family chosen for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"

November 08, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, Pa. -- Matthew and Blasia Drumm's house was a dump -- literally.

When the couple moved into their Quincy Township home, they did not realize that the abandoned property had been used for trash dumping. Now, when it rains, glass and other debris works its way up from the ground.

Not for long.

The design team from the ABC network's Emmy-award winning "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" arrived on the Drumms' concrete slab doorstep Friday morning, ushering in a week's worth of construction and promise of a grandiose home to better serve the family's needs. Blasia Drumm hopes to run an in-home service for children who have special needs, like two of her own three sons.

"New house?" asked Nathan, 12.

"This will be gone. This won't be here. It'll be a new house," Blasia Drumm told him.

During the first meeting with representatives of project contractor Dan Ryan Builders, Nathan indicated he wasn't too sure whether he'd like Disney World, where the family will spend the week. Then his mother promised him chicken and french fries once they got there.


"So I go to Walt Disney World and then when we're done, we'll head back to a new house," Nathan said.

Matthew and Blasia Drumm, who are heavily involved in the Challenger Little League program, knew they were finalists for the show. Yet, five hours after the announcement, the stoic father remained overwhelmed.

"I'm still expecting to wake up and have to throw a load of laundry in before I get ready to go to work," he said. "It hasn't sunk in."

The couple walked through the house with Dan Ryan and his crew to identify prized belongings that must be saved. They then sat down for a lengthy on-camera interview with design team leader Ty Pennington.

Demolition has been scheduled for late afternoon Saturday.

For designers Eduardo Xol and Paul DiMeo, the trip to south-central Pennsylvania was in many ways a homecoming. Xol was raised in Easton, Pa., and DiMeo has relatives working in Cumberland County, Pa.

"I just heard that we're having too many volunteers volunteer, which is a great testament to Pennsylvania," designer John Littlefield said.

DiMeo will be focused on a bedroom for Donnie, 15. His design will be based off tiny items found in the boy's special shoebox, not unlike the one DiMeo had as a child.

"In that shoebox was my life's treasures," he said.

DiMeo hinted that, beyond the house, help would be extended to the Drums' causes this week. The Challenger league is a division of Little League for people with special needs, ranging locally this year from ages 4 to 26.

"Everybody gets up to bat, they all hit the ball, they all run the bases and come home. Then we switch sides," Matthew Drumm said.

Dan Ryan, president and CEO of Dan Ryan Builders, said he first learned about the project from the commissioner of Pen Mar Youth League.

"He said, 'I've gotten to know and love a family that hangs around the ballpark all the time," said Ryan, who said a show producer called to make arrangements three weeks ago.

The crew has 106 hours to build the home, including just 14 hours for framing, something that usually takes a week itself.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Ryan said.

Donnie, 15, attends Shalom Christian Academy in Chambersburg, Pa.; Nathan, 12, attends an autistic classroom in Chambersburg Area Middle School; and 17-year-old Ben goes to the Waynesboro, Va., Fishburne Military School, where he is a promising wrestler and aspiring member of the Army Special Forces. Blasia Drumm is a teacher's aide at the Franklin Learning Center in Chambersburg.

Favorite memories of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" designers:

John Littlefield

"Each family is different, and they inspire me differently. But I think (post-Hurricane Katrina) Mississippi: We had a single mom with five kids.

"They see the house, and that's incredible. They see the plasma screens and they see all this stuff.

"She turned on water. She turned on her faucet and lost it. That really hit home. She just turned on the faucet and had running water for the first time. She had a hose running through the window that filled the bathtub, pots and pans, filled everything. A hose. And she turned on the faucet. That was one of my greatest memories."

Eduardo Xol

"I've been on for five years, so that's a lot of people I've worked with. I have special memories and special families I've worked with. There is a specific family that for me has special meaning. It was the end of my first season, outside of (St. Petersburg) Florida -- James Dolan. He was a man that four months before was working in a radio store. A man went in with a gun and started randomly firing shots. It killed two of his coworkers. A bullet went through his head. It didn't kill him, but it permanently blinded him.

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