Last night’s episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeoverdelivered a strong anti-bullying message, and made a new home for the Walker family of Springfield, Massachusetts. Ty Pennington and the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” design team traveled to Springfield to surprise the Walker family and change their lives.
On April 6th, 2009, 11-year-old Carl Walker took his own life. Carl had told his mother, Sirdeaner Walker, about incidents of being bullied at school. Since his tragic death, the family have focused their energies on trying to help others by lobbying for new state and federal laws against bullying.
The Walker house was a living memory of the most horrific night in this family’s life. The 3rd floor is where Carl took his own life, and as a result, the family couldn’t bear the sadness of that floor. For years Sirdeaner and her two children slept in the living room, on a couch and two rollaway beds. The grandmother, who also lives with them, couldn’t access the 2nd floor at all, as the stairs were impossible for her. The house itself was over 100 years old and in serious disrepair, with myriad structural, plumbing and electrical problems.
In seven days the “EM:HE” design team built a brand new home for the Walker family, a new facility that meets their current needs and also honors Carl in a positive way without the haunting memories of the 3rd floor. The team led by Ty Pennington, designers Michael Moloney, Tracy Hutson, Jillian Harris, John Littlefield and local builders N. Riley Construction, Inc., joined community volunteers (including some students from Franklin) to build the house. At the same time, they built an organization to “stand together” in the fight against bullying.
It was a moving piece with a positive outcome based on a tragic story. If you missed it on TV, take the opportunity to watch it online by clicking here.