ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to Help Families Displaced by an EF5 Tornado in Joplin, Missouri

One of the most difficult parts of my job as a weather communicator and observer is seeing photos and video of families and communities being ripped apart by an uncontrollable force – Mother Nature.

What originally sparked my interest in weather were the sights and sounds of severe weather, the wall of white falling from the sky during a blizzard and those eerily calm and pristine summer days with moderate heat, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky. It’s just so interesting.

However, the harsh reality is that weather kills. This past year, this was seen in Joplin, Missouri. It was on May 22 that severe weather broke out and an EF5 multi-vortex tornado tore through Joplin, killing more than 150 people.

ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is now vowing to help some of the families of that tragic Spring day. In what will clearly be a massive undertaking, the hit show will build seven homes in seven days. They won’t attempt. They won’t try. They will.

I had the pleasure of helping volunteer as a general worker for one of the show’s episodes and it was such a rewarding experience. Besides all the glitz and glam of the television cameras and well-known celebrities appearing left and right, it boiled down to this…strangers helping strangers. You’ve got to love that.

Typically, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition builds one home in seven days, a big undertaking in itself. When construction begins on or about October 19, we’ll be talking about seven of these big undertakings in one. This will change the lives of seven families. The chosen families will not be identified until day one of construction.

Of course there are going to be dozens of other deserving families that do not get picked for a new home, and it’s heartbreaking to think about. But, in the end, it is simply better to do something, rather than nothing.

Construction will be led by President Sam Clifton of Millstone Custom Homes, based out of Nixa, Missouri. This will be the second Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build for Clifton. It’s expected that around 5,000 general volunteers will be needed throughout the seven days of the project.

And it doesn’t just take a television show to revive a community. I’m sure all members of the affected area have been doing their best to help each other. And that’s fantastic. And if not, now’s the time to do so.

Across the country and the world, there are thousands of people who need the help, both for weather disaster reasons and other reasons too. If you’re one of the lucky ones like I am — you have a home to come back to every day and food on the table — just take the time to think about the recent weather events that have displaced so many regular people like you and I.

A television show like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is produced for a reason. It should open our eyes to the tough realities so many families face. In my opinion, the show’s Joplin project is quite extraordinary.

If you’d like to help out with the project, visit the project’s website by clicking here. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition begins its ninth season September 25 at 8pm EST on ABC. You can also follow all Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build forecasts on my website,

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