Extreme Makeover From the Heart

Why would Edmond companies donate time and money to help build a house located over an hour away? Some might say it was the allure of being part of the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show, but for these Edmond companies, it was less about entertainment and more about heart.

In 2007, the infant son of Brian and Audra Skaggs suffered multiple cardiac arrests. Baby Jhett underwent a miraculous heart transplant which requires constant, expensive care. The Skaggs struggled to pay medical bills on the salary of a cattle rancher and pre-school teacher.    

On February 1, the Skaggs family received the show’s iconic surprise knock on their front door. They learned that in just
106 hours their moldy, termite-eaten house near the Slaughterville and Lexington border would be replaced with a new, healthy home. Completely donated.    

“We were so excited,” said Audra Skaggs. “The kids were screaming and jumping up and down. They watch the show, so they knew a little about what was going on.”

Just weeks before the knock came, the sponsoring builder, Ideal Homes, began contacting local businesses about donating materials and labor for the project. Edmond-based companies generously volunteered to be part of the house-raising crew.    

“I’ve been given so many breaks in the past, and I wanted to pay it forward and give someone else a break,” said Roger Tucker of Oklahoma Closets in Edmond. “How can you pass up the opportunity to make the lives of this family better?”

Oklahoma Closets was responsible for installing five walk-in closets in the Skaggs’ new home. Most of the prep work was completed in their shop, so it only took five hours to install the closets at the build site.  

“The interior is the heart of a home,” Tucker said. “When the rest of the Skaggs’ lives are hectic or they are focusing on Jhett’s health, they will at least have control over the organization of their home.”    

Absolute Lawn Management and Landscaping of Edmond was responsible for completing the Skaggs’ front walkway and the back patio and grill area. In order to lay decorative concrete pavers, Marcus Jerry realized that other preparations needed to take place first. He invited two other Edmond companies to donate their services.  

Time Tool and Equipment Rental provided two plate compactors for stamping down the sand and dirt. Minick Materials provided screening that had to be placed before the pavers were installed, as well as flagstones and stone benches.  
“It was exciting to help someone out,” said Joey Vines of Minick Materials in Edmond. “The atmosphere was upbeat and happy. I think the Skaggs will appreciate sitting on the benches while they are grilling in the backyard.”

“This project was contagious. All my employees wanted to go down and help,” said Jerry. “It was interesting to watch the shoot, but mainly, it was awesome to help the family.”  

“The community has showered us with love and prayers,” said Audra Skaggs.  “We are
completely blessed.”

Weather certainly didn’t make the task any easier. The ice-storm had left the Skaggs’ land saturated, and temperatures hovered around freezing the entire week. Television crew members admitted that Oklahoma had provided some of the worst working conditions they ever filmed.     

“The weather gave us its worst,” said Tucker. “Despite the cold, the mud and the rain, people pushed through to make it happen anyway.”

“We worked until two in the morning,” said Jerry. “It was amazing to see all the different companies work together. They had the drive and the heart to get it done.”

“Heart” was evident in the giving spirit of the 3,000 volunteers, 150 donor companies, and 50,000 hours poured into building a new life for the Skaggs family. When the show airs this spring, millions of viewers will find their hearts captured by Jhett and his tiny, beating heart.

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