Monday night in Fargo pulled together all of the ingredients of a classic pep rally: a marching band, cheerleaders and excited fans. But this rally went to the extreme, with cheerleaders from seven squads and about 3,000 community members rocking the Bison Sports Arena, prepping for an “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” build somewhere in the Fargo-Moorhead area.
The show that often leaves viewers with a lump in the throat, goose bumps and tears threatening to spill, has attracted longtime fans and those who want to take advantage of a rare opportunity to help.
A few rows up from center court, North Dakota State University student Hannah Rohrich and her friends wait for the start of the rally. Her face brightens and her eyes twinkle when she talks about volunteering for the build.Growing up, Rohrich’s dad worked in construction and she was taught not to be afraid of rolling up her sleeves and getting her hands dirty. She’s happy to swing a hammer, wield a paintbrush or help with clean up duties.
“I’m just hoping to be there – wherever they need me,” Rohrich says.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is often on Sunday nights in the room Rohrich shares with Emma Van Valkenburg, who says it’s always been a wholesome, meaningful show that always makes her reach for the Kleenex box.
“It doesn’t matter who it is,” Van Valkenburg says. “We’ll be helping a family who deserves it – they always pick somebody who needs it.”
From the front row, all wearing their new white t-shirts in support of the build, the Duncan family represented their hometown of Moorhead. They waited for a hint of which of the 60 applications is the receiving family, but no clues were given.
“We nominated a family and we hope they win, but even if they don’t, we’re here to support,” says Dixie Duncan of Moorhead. Her daughter, Brynn, suffered a spinal cord injury and has been greatly helped by Hope Inc., a Moorhead-based non-profit.
No matter who the recipient is, builders at Heritage Homes know that constructing a dream home in 106 hours isn’t easy. They would know – this is the company’s third build for the show. They started in 2006 with a build in Minot, followed by a build in New Orleans.
“This is a life changing experience and to get to do it three times is an honor, but we wanted to do this in our home town,” says Daryl Braham, co-owner of Heritage Homes.
Braham and co-owner Tyrone Leslie emphasized that their company and the show can’t do this without the support of the community and a good showing by skilled trade workers. They encourage community members to sign up to volunteer.
Braham and Leslie say it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
To volunteer, visit www.extrememakeoverfm.com.