A sea of volunteers, outfitted in iconic cobalt blue “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” t-shirts waited for two hours in the West rink at the Southwest Youth Arena in Fargo to ambush deserving make over recipients. Many arrived at 7:30 a.m., and after 10 they walked onto the ice of the adjoining rink together: builders, construction workers, community members and relatives of the unsuspecting family.
Crouched on top of a zamboni near the driver, was “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” team leader Ty Pennington, while designers Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis and Eduardo Xol held on to the back of the unfamiliar machine. The overhead door in front of them opened, and the zamboni made its way on to the ice.
“Good Morning Grommesh Family!” Pennington shouted as the cast and crew ambushed Bill and Adair Grommesh and their two remarkable children, Garrett and Peighton of Moorhead, Minn., revealing that they are the recipients of a home makeover.
The family was enjoying a game of sled hockey with youngsters from HOPE Inc, a local nonprofit organization that makes sports and activities accessible to disabled children. While the cast of the show, multiple cameras and more than 100 volunteers surrounded the Grommesh family, they stood in disbelief, wide eyed and looking at each other.
Then it hit them.
With tears and hugs, they clung to each other and then to the design team. They were living and breathing right in the middle of a dream come true.
“Thank you!” Adair shouted. “This is awesome!”
Pennington brought in Heritage Homes co-owners Daryl Braham and Tryone Leslie, who had the opportunity to meet Garrett in May.
Braham leaned over to Garrett in his sled on the ice, “You’re an inspiration, do you know that?”
Braham and Leslie, both visibly moved with emotion, told the Grommesh family what an honor it is to build a new home for them.
“We couldn’t ask to help a more deserving family,” Braham said.
Although nine-year-old Garrett Grommesh was born with spina bifida, he possesses a strong spirit and a clear sense of his own limitless possibilities. Garrett has proven that he can do anything that able-bodied children do. He has spoken at several fundraisers, raised money for charities and nonprofits, and helped dedicate a handicap accessible playground.
Garrett has an 11-year-old sister, Peighton, who has a pancreatic enzyme deficiency known as Axenfeld-Reiger’s syndrome. Both Garrett and Peighton attack each day with power, heart and hope.
Garrett inspired his parents to take over the management of HOPE Inc. Adair and Bill have transformed HOPE Inc. into a year-round program to inspire independence for children with disabilities, making sports like hockey, soccer, volleyball, skiing and ice-skating accessible to everyone. Through HOPE Inc, the Grommesh family has brought accessibility to children with disabilities. Unfortunately, they have not been able to bring that same accessibility to their own home – until now. The “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” design team will step in to make the Grommesh home handicapped accessible.
The current Grommesh house at 803 22nd Ave. S. will be rebuilt on site this week by 4,000 skilled trades people and unskilled volunteers in 106 hours, according to the show’s format.
The Grommesh family will be on vacation in the Bahamas while their home is rebuilt.