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Extreme Makeover

Heritage Homes enjoys giving back to the community. So when Extreme Makeover: Home Addition wanted to team up, Heritage Homes jumped at the chance not once, but twice to help those in need.

The Gaston Family

Finis Gaston’s beloved mother died unexpectedly, leaving his young niece and two nephews without a caregiver. Even though Finis had one year left until graduation, he didn’t hesitate to give up his full scholarship to Alabama A&M University and return home to care for his family.

Finis works as a lunch server at Baker School and is also a volunteer coach for a local area girls’ cheerleading team at the Baker Area Youth Association. He opened a gymnastics business called Finest Tumblers, but had to close down when the building was sold. The community lost a fun, healthy place for kids to train, and Finis lost the income that he planned to use to make his family’s home safe and livable.

So Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Heritage Homes stepped in. After 20,000 bricks, 1,000 stones, 100 yards of concrete, 200 pieces of sheetrock, 2,000 volunteers, and 1,500 cases of water, the Gastons’ new home was finally completed. Amazingly, it all happened within 106 hours. Their new home is 3,600 square feet and is located in Pensacola, Fla.

The Gaudet Family

Steven and Lydia Gaudet’s 50-year-old home was battered by Hurricane Katrina and a small house fire. They raised eight children in the home, six of whom still live with them. With a leaky roof, a disastrous bathroom, a crumbling kitchen and sinking load-bearing wall, the family home was in need of extensive repairs.

Although the Gaudets’ home was failing, their whole family shared a passion for community service. Their involvement reached a new level after the birth of the Gaudets’ youngest son, Peter, who has Down syndrome. Lydia holds a position with Easter Seals as the volunteer coordinator and also heads a literacy program. The whole family works with United Cerebral Palsy, the Down Syndrome Society of Mobile County, and Camp SMILE – a camp for disabled youth and adults.

Over 3,000 volunteers worked to complete the Gaudets’ home in Mobile, Ala. It began with the laying of the foundation on Monday morning at 1:00 a.m. and ended with the building team turning the keys over to the design team Thursday afternoon.

The Gaudets’ previous house was 1,100 square feet with one barely functional bathroom and three deteriorating bedrooms. Now they have 3,400 square feet of functional living space, three nice-sized bathrooms and five beautiful bedrooms.