Made over - Drumm family crosses new threshold in lives

November 15, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, PA - "Welcome home, Drumm family."

The words that greeted the family of five on its return Friday from Walt Disney World held enormous meaning. That's because moments after "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" host Ty Pennington said them, the Drumms joined thousands of other people in chanting "move that bus" to reveal the house they hope will suit their needs for years to come.

"It's still unreal," Blasia Drumm told Pennington as a half-dozen cameras filmed the scene.

It was just a week earlier that Matthew, Blasia, Ben, Donnie and Nathan Drumm officially learned they had been selected for ABC's Emmy award-winning show.

They flew to Orlando, Fla., while Dan Ryan Builders and subcontractors embarked on an ambitious 106-hour construction schedule.

Before the house was revealed, Blasia Drumm's left hand shook as she hooked two fingers around the belt loops on the back of her husband's pants. Family members broke from the filming schedule when they paused to thank Rob Stottlemyer, whose wife, Brenda, nominated the family for the show. The Cascade woman died in September.


"This is her dream come true," said Ed Barnett, who has worked with both the Drumms and Stottlemyers in a Little League program for people with special needs.

"She had thought so much of Blasia and what she was doing for other families and kids with mental disabilities," said Donald Elower, father of Blasia Drum. "She said no one who does so much for others should live in a house like they did."

Elower and Rob Stottlemyer exchanged an emotion-filled hug prior to a segment of filming at 10:30 a.m.

"They're so indebted to you," Elower said.

The week of construction yielded a 2,500-square-foot house that is about three times the size of the dilapidated home that the family had lived in for about 16 years. Blasia Drumm jokingly told Pennington that she doesn't have enough belongings to fill the new house.

The "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" designers worked on bedrooms for the boys, the youngest two of whom are autistic.

"I love my room, but I've got to tell you, I really love Paul's room. He did a phenomenal job," John Littlefield said of fellow designer Paul DiMeo's room for 15-year-old Donnie Drumm.

Littlefield, a fan of zombie movies, said that DiMeo used a lot of scary special effects.

"I'd live in Paul's room, definitely," Littlefield said.

Wrestler Henry Cejudo visited the set Friday to greet Ben Drumm and show the 17-year-old his gold medal from the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Volunteers involved with the production have speculated that Ben Drumm's own wrestling skills might lead to his participation in the next Summer Olympics.

Patty Flood, principal of Shalom Christian Academy, brought 26 students to welcome home classmate Donnie Drumm.

"We wanted Donnie to know we were supporting him and just that we're behind him," she said. "I just think this is a wonderful opportunity for them."

Blasia Drumm's father stared in disbelief as three vehicles filled with groceries pulled up in front of the house at 11 a.m. The Thurmont, Md., man was accustomed to worrying about his relatives' finances.

"We've given her money for gas to get up this mountain from Thurmont," he said.

Now, he hopes that the bigger house's design will allow the family to fulfill its dreams.

"One of their goals is to take care of other children in this home," Elower said.

"Matthew and Blasia know all the (Challenger team) kids and know their needs. I'm proud of this community to come out and support this wonderful project," Barnett said, waving his arm toward thousands of people pushing against barricades to see the Drumms.

The episode filmed this week in Quincy Township will air in January.

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