Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cheerleaders needed - These are Brevard's Heroes

Are you thinking that you don't have any real skills to add to the Extreme Makeover Build going on in Cocoa? Why not just go out and cheer on the workers? If you live in Brevard County, you know how rough the last couple of years have been on the construction industry. But ALL OF THESE businesses and skilled workers out there have pulled together to DONATE THEIR TIME AND MATERIALS TO show the world what Brevard County is all about.

I love LifeStyle Homes for doing this, but it isn't just LifeStyle. This is the strength of Brevard County!! They are the businesses that help pull together in times of need. Many of the companies participating are listed on the sponsor page but there are many others out there that are helping, too.

Go out and cheer them on! Make a banner telling them how you feel. Yell, scream, applaud. Not just for Ty and the other stars of the show. But for Brevard County's stars as well!

We love you guys and gals of Brevard County. You make us all so proud!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Extreme Makeover Spacecoast - Something to remember for a Lifetime

Tom and I are excited to be helping out with the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Project here in Brevard County. Many thanks to the folks at LifeStyle Homes for giving us this opportunity. Not only do we welcome the opportunity to work on such a worthwhile and generous project, but the home is also going to be energy efficient - another big interest for both of us.

I worked on the Brevard Zoo builds back in 1992 and it was such an incredible opportunity that I wanted to share this article I wrote about the whole experience.

Once upon a time....

© Betsy S. Franz 1992

Hammers swung and sawblades flew and from the ground arose a zoo.

What were their motives? Why were they there?

What compelled the thousands of people to give up their free time to work side by side in the dirt and sawdust to help create a new zoo for Brevard County, Florida?

There were housewives who had never held a drill or seen a router who became experts with power tools by the end of their four-hour shift.

There were perfumed and manicured ladies lugging lumber and guiding posthole diggers.

There were children pushing brooms, soaping nails and making bricks.

There were men, young and old, willing to help and teach and guide and build...willing to do their part and give a little bit of themselves to this huge community project.

And everyone, everywhere seemed to be having a good time.

Handshakes and phone numbers were exchanged as new friendships were made.

Self-esteem and pride were restored to those who were, for some reason, lacking it.

Jubilant high-fives sounded at the completion of projects and warm hugs were shared by friends after long days of work.

Guided by the various volunteer and contracted foreman, every worker had an assignment...no one was left idle.

Even those who were reluctant to try their hand at hammers or power tools did their part by directing traffic, entertaining the kids or delivering soft drinks to the thirsty workers.

From the sky, the scene probably resembled a huge ant farm, with every worker diligently carrying out their assigned role.

And day by day, the creation grew.

From out of the nothingness, a giant beehive shaped playground took shape; a huge mastodon appeared from a room size sheet of plywood; raised boardwalks began to span the skies and thatched-roof gazebos began to dot the land.

At mealtime, the hungry workers filed into screen-sided tents, reminiscent of the mess tents on old "MASH" reruns.

Laughter and moans about weary muscles were shared along with generous portions of donated food.

And a gentle, peaceful camaraderie filled the tents and followed the workers as they made their way back along the paths to reclaim their shovels or hammers or saws and begin again.

For those few days, I experienced what my idealistic mind had always envisioned Utopia to be: People working together and laughing together and cooperating in perfect harmony.

During those days, I saw no anger, no prejudice, no injuries and no negativity at all.

I saw (and felt) contentment and pride and laughter and a great feeling of accomplishment and belonging.

And although I only met 10 or 20 people there, I somehow felt like all of these thousands of volunteers were my new friends.

Being one of the fortunate ones who participated in what has been called the "World's Largest Community Build" has given me a whole new view of mankind. I was able to catch a glimpse of a different world. I now know what mankind is capable of. I saw Utopia. And in my day-to-day life in corporate America, I often miss it.

But whenever I get a little disillusioned with mankind, or a little stressed from the dog-eat-dog rat race that I so willingly participate in, I have the advantage of taking a 20 minute drive to the zoo that I helped to build.

As I walk through the entrance gate and see the many names etched in the bricks and carved in the wooden posts, I know that we all have that potential for Utopians within us. We all want to play a part in building a better world. Perhaps we are all just waiting for the right foreman to put a hammer in our hand and tell us where to begin.




Back in 1992, the zoo project WAS one of the largest community builds. Extreme Makeover Home Edition has certainly surpassed all of those records with their generous builds and the process is a lot more complicated.

If you have signed up to volunteer and haven't been called yet, keep in mind that this will be a WORK IN PROGRESS. Until they contact the homeowners and begin building, they may not know where they can use you. That's part of the fun and excitement. I'm not sure that I will get to actually work on the job site but I do know that I can add my positive energy and support just like you!

Keep up with the progress by visiting their Facebook fan page.