At 5:15 Monday, a suburban carrying the Grommesh family pulled into their driveway, which is just days old. The family wasn’t able to stay in the home Sunday evening, but was looking forward to spending the night Monday. A producer for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” unloaded Garrett’s wheelchair from the back of the vehicle and the family made its way toward a line of people a block wide.
It was the first time since the family saw their dream home that local media had the opportunity to ask questions of the family. Cameras hugged the curb while family members and Heritage Homes co-owners stood along side them on the sidewalk.
“We’ve been talking about you all week, kind of behind your back,” joked Daryl Braham, co-owner of Heritage Homes, the builder on the project.
Braham served as the emcee as a parade of businesses and organizations stepped up to present the Grommesh family with a variety of donations, many of them surprises. The family was already aware of major gifts from Concordia College: two full ride scholarships, one for Peighton and one for Garrett. Officials from the school presented the family with a letter, making the scholarships official.
Concordia officials also presented the Hajdari family with an official letter stated that their four children would receive $10,000 a year for four years.
“The whole theme of this week’s show is paying it forward and that’s what Concordia is doing,” Braham said.
Members of local band 32 Below stepped forward and presented proceeds from a benefit concert a week earlier.
“We were up on the roof [volunteering]. We’re not going to tell you where, but if it leaks, it was us,” joked lead singer Matt Aakre before presenting the family with more than $6,000.
Players and management from the Fargo Force swarmed the family in their matching navy blue Reebok jackets. The general manager presented them with a two-inch stack of full season passes for all four family members and offered them a suite for them and 14 friends to use during the home opener. Peighton and Garrett received official Fargo Force jerseys with “Grommesh” in capital letters on the backs, the team also presented them with an official game jersey and hockey stick, both signed by players.
As the hockey players dispersed, Garrett looked up at his mom holding the season tickets, “Can’t loose ‘em,” he said.
“Can’t loose ‘em,” Adair echoed. “That would be a bad deal, wouldn’t it?”
Country Kitchen of Fargo, Dickinson and Detroit Lakes presented the family and Hope Inc. with a giant $5,000 check, which Garrett wanted to hold in his lap.
The Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre designated ticket sales from a recent show to the Grommesh family and also accepted donations for the family, and presented them with $1,000.
Management from Cable One gave the family high speed Internet, telephone service and internet service free for one year. And Action Movers/Go-Minis offered the family storage of their belongings for free and the Hajdari family will receive free moving services when they are ready to transition from their apartment to their new home.
The family also shared their reactions to their new home and to the whole experience of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
“I had goosebumps that started several blocks away,” Adair said. “It was just surreal.”
The Grommeshes expressed how blessed they felt due to this once in a lifetime opportunity and they thank the community for everything that its helped with over the last week.
ABC has requested that no one but the four of them enter the home until the episode airs between mid-November and mid-December and the family couldn’t talk about the details of inside the home. Adair and Bill did say that they are excited about how things in the home will allow Garrett to be more independent and allow him to build even more confidence in his abilities.
“If we had the money, this is what we would want,” Adair said. “It was like they were in our heads.”
They want to share their home eventually and talked about planning an open house that would allow them to thank members of the community personally, when the time is right.
When asked when if they thought their life would ever get back to normal, Adair responded with a soft smile, “It will be a new normal. It will be a better normal.”
They officially dive in to a new life tonight when they get tucked in to brand new beds in a brand new dream home, under the stars in south Moorhead.
Sweet dreams, Grommesh family.