The build, set for the week of Feb. 14, is shrouded in secrecy as the popular network TV show keeps the location and designated family from being known before the classic wake-up call by Ty Pennington.
Thousands of volunteers have already stepped up and offered their services, including some from Cleveland.
The theme “Big Hearts Wear Hard Hats” was developed after Vision Homes named the American Heart Association as a cause that will be presented and supported throughout the build.
According to a press release, “Activities will include free heart health screenings, provided by local healthcare providers, a Blood drive, provided by Blood Assurance and a My Life Check test station, where visitors can take a simple, 10-minute online quiz to get a personalized heart health score and ways to improve it.”
Builders Jason Willard and Craig Smith said the choice to participate in the build when approached by “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” was an obvious yes.
“I appreciate the opportunity,” Willard said to the large crowd on Thursday. “Chattanooga, let’s do this!”
Many of those present at the pep rally had already volunteered to be a part of the build. Smith asked that the excitement of the pep rally would stay throughout the build.
Willard said one of the reasons Vision Homes decided to get involved was that a family member had been a part of a previous build. Willard and Smith said they were excited to get started.
Later, Willard said meeting the family is one of the things he is looking forward to the most. The biggest challenge, according to Smith, will be organizing everyone at the site. Willard said adapting to a different schedule will also be a challenge.
During the rally, Milan Vasic, senior producer for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” told the audience what to expect if they visit the site the week of the build. To suppliers and workers, he stressed being flexible and understanding of the build schedule. There will be a staging area where all those bringing in supplies, food and volunteers will have to sign in. There will also be a spectator area. All those on site will be required to sign liability and photo release forms. Safety is a concern for everyone involved, Vasic said.
Vasic also stressed it takes an entire community to make the build a reality. He compared it to an old-time barn raising. To sign-up to volunteer visit www.extremevisionhomes.com/donate/.
For Vasic, the show gives families a show they can all watch together.
“Our show ... gives people an opportunity to do good and be a part of something greater than they are,” Vasic said, commenting that each person has a specific talent they can bring to the project.
Throughout the night attendees were given the opportunity to donate money, sign up to volunteer and buy “Big Hearts Wear Hard Hats” themed shirts to support the project.
Thursday’s “Big Hearts Wear Hard Hats” pep rally was sponsored by Mike Collins and Associates. The company made it possible for those present to donate via credit card to the build. Representatives from the show also announced skills and items the team was still looking for to make the build a success. A complete list can be found at www.extremevisionhomes.com/donate/project-needs/.