A message from Blue Ridge Log Cabin President Chip Smith on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Project
When ABC first approached Blue Ridge Log Cabins in May 2011 to do the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show, and we learned about Barbara Marshall and her work to provide shelter and resources for homeless women vets – women who have sacrificed so much for our country – we knew it was that kind of opportunity. We knew it was a difficult time in the building industry and in the economy, but we immediately asked, “How could we not do it?”
Of course, we were flattered. This is a nationally televised show, in its 9th season, and the producers do their due diligence in qualifying and selecting their builders. We were honored to be chosen, and we felt pride in our process, our craftsmanship, and the value of our homes. We were ready to introduce Blue Ridge to America.
But more than anything, we wanted to help Barbara and all the women who would spend time at the new Steps-n-Stages Jubilee House for decades to come. Everyone at Blue Ridge knew that the project went way beyond one community helping one family. It was a project that brought together multiple communities, across states, to respond in a broad way and have a huge impact on homeless military vets and on America.
We knew we would have the full support of our employees, and our decision was an easy one. Blue Ridge was ready.
As soon as the project started, we felt the pride and energy from our friends and partners in Campobello and all the amazing people we met in Fayetteville. From the initial kick-off to the final wrap, it was awe-inspiring to see the volunteers, military, and Blue Ridge and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crews come together. It is a true American spirit that surfaces when something like this happens.
The project was huge – building an over 6,000-sq ft house, coordinating hundreds of workers and over 4,000 volunteers, incorporating the “Extreme” elements of the show’s designers, and doing it all in one week. But the communities throughout both North and South Carolina collaborated, and there was an outpouring of support and encouragement, in ways I had never expected. Every day I would receive mementos and hear stories from volunteers and spectators who were so appreciative of this project and what it would do for our nation’s military personnel. They told me of the veterans and soldiers in their own lives, and thanked me sincerely for Blue Ridge’s contribution to this important cause. It was humbling.
Seeing their enthusiasm, along with the droves of people who turned out on set, eager to contribute, pick up tools, and dive in, kept me viewing the project with promise and optimism – no matter the size of the tasks. I realized again how my mindset had shifted from “How in the world could we accomplish this?” to “How in the world could we not accomplish this?”
I saw the power of people joining together to make a significant difference. The scope of the project became even clearer in my conversation with the First Lady. Mrs. Obama relayed her hopes that this effort could be replicated by more builders and volunteers across the country, creating a large-scale, community-driven solution to the homeless vet crisis.
In my talks with Barbara Marshall, I heard the same message. Barbara is a driven and dedicated woman who will maximize the new Jubilee House and everything that it presents and represents. With the resources provided through the new home, Barbara will see this project as a blue print others can follow to help more American heroes.
Blue Ridge stands ready to continue to help Barbara and support the women of the Jubilee House. The one-week, 106-hour experience holds a special place in the history of our company. The home we helped build – and the memories we created – will always be a testament to Blue Ridge’s commitment to our community and to America.
I speak for the entire Blue Ridge Log Cabins family in saying I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What surprised Chip most about the award-winning Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? It was the show’s organization, scheduling, and commitment to complete the project no matter what it would take. Knowing the build would have to be done in just one week and would call on the help of hundreds of skilled workers and over 4,000 volunteers, the show promoted at its core a sense of “overcoming” by everyone involved.
Chip said the entire cast and crew were always ready to do whatever had to be done, and they were all personally committed to the project and its success.
“What really resonated with me was the genuineness of everyone on the show – from the set production people, to the designers, crew, producers, and celebrities. Everyone was so kind and sincere that I knew Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was not a typical Hollywood reality show,” said Chip.
Chip added that many on the Extreme team, including designer Paul DiMeo, let him know this episode was one of their favorite and most memorable. Chip attributes this to the important cause of homeless veterans, the special appearance by Michelle Obama, and the outpouring of support from the military community.
He said the only regret from the summer 2011 experience was that viewers are not able to see all the side projects that happened throughout the week, the energy from the volunteers, and the camaraderie of the military, spectators, and crews. Chip learned the show typically films over 1,000 hours to produce one two-hour program. Although a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, we trust it will be remembered by everyone involved in this incredible Extreme project.
Leading the dedicated team of professionals at Blue Ridge Log Cabins has been more rewarding than I could have imagined when I became owner and president of the company nine years ago. Indeed, it is an honor to be able to work with such talented and hard-working people. There is a special spirit within this company, a culture of innovation and a belief in hard work. It is the same sort of spirit that the tens of millions of viewers familiar with the hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition understand well. So when we were asked to lend our resources to this program, we couldn’t have been prouder or more excited.
Building a custom log home for one special family chosen by the show will be a labor of love for our team, a project that every one of our nearly 90 employees will touch in one way or another.
Our commitment to this family goes beyond the home’s construction. Our company is also fully engaged in a fundraising effort to furnish the home and to provide other financial assistance to the chosen family. This is where you come in – please consider making a financial or in-kind contribution today. You will be helping make a new start for a most deserving family!
Thank you for your support, and remember to check this site often as we provide updates on this once-in-a-lifetime journey.