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'Extreme Makeover' home two hours ahead of schedule

November 11, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, Pa. -- The Drumm family has a new home.

When Monday started in Quincy Township, there was little more than a giant hole and concrete basement walls at the property. Yet, as supper was being served to volunteers, shingles were being prepared for installation on the roof of a 2,500-square-foot house.

"The whole thing is mind-blowing. We must've cried for an hour and a half, my wife and I," said Donald Elower, who watched construction at the new house that will be given to his daughter, her husband and their three sons.

Dan Ryan, president and CEO of Dan Ryan Builders, said Monday night that construction was two hours ahead of the grueling 106-hour build schedule put forth by ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

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"You would think that we are way ahead of schedule just because everything's going so well and because of the progress we're seeing," Ryan said. "The schedule is really tight, but we're doing terrific."

Ryan compared the spirit of cooperation to a ball team, an analogy apropos to the situation because Matthew and Blasia Drumm work with the Challenger Little League program for people with special needs. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" design team leader Ty Pennington served as the umpire at a league game on Sunday and sent players to join the Drumms at Walt Disney World.

Elower predicted his daughter will be unable to speak through her tears when she sees the house Friday.

"They can't even imagine what's going to be happening here," Elower said.

The couple has lived in South Mountain for about 16 years and said they were unaware the previously abandoned land had been used for dumping, he said.

"They rented first, then they got an option to buy," Elower said. "They bought the property not knowing what it was when they bought it."

Two of the three Drumm boys are autistic and one also is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Although Blasia Drumm works part time, Elower said it has been hard for the parents to work regularly because of the boys' needs.

Elower, of Thurmont, Md., likes that the family's new house will be energy-efficient to minimize utility costs.

"I think the Drumms are going to love their new home. It's going to be a major life-changing experience for them, but they still need to upkeep this house, so it's real important that we put many energy-efficient items in this house to keep the energy costs down," Ryan said. The high-value R-23 insulation used in exterior walls is something he never encountered before in a home.

Monday marked the first day that the set officially was open to spectators, who took shuttle buses from the Pa. 997 carnival grounds in Mont Alto, Pa. Ryan said cheers from the crowd boosted morale several times.

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