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Extreme blessing

By Jennifer McClure

When Job McCully was released from St. Louis Children’s Hospital in March 2008, it had been more than a year since the McCully family had been together at home in Bigelow, Ark.

While away, they discovered dangerous amounts of mold had been growing in their home. A professional inspection confirmed the house to be unsafe for anyone, but especially for Job, whose fungal pneumonia in February 2007 had been contracted from the mold.

The family was given a place to stay rent free through the summer, but were unsure what they would do after that.

Months before the McCullys returned home, friends had begun the application process for submitting the family to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. A committee of friends in Bigelow led an organized effort Feb. 11-21, 2008, to push the McCullys’ story to the top of the thousands of recommendations the show receives each week.

And it worked.

“We were overwhelmed with how much support came in for this family,” says Diane Korman, one of the show’s producers. “In fact, at one point we had to ask supporters to spread the word that it was time to stop calling.”

ABC contacted the McCully family and said they were in the final five. On Aug. 14, Ty Pennington and the Extreme Makeover crew rolled up.

“God orchestrated the whole thing through the love of the community and our friends,” Tina McCully says. “God sent Hollywood out here to build us a house.”

In a week’s time, 98 hours to be exact, a new energy-efficient, 4,400-square-foot all-brick home was built about 10 feet behind the location of the former 1,800-square-foot home.

The project’s builder was Jack Wilson, president of Woodhaven Homes.

“It’s the most energy-efficient home we’ve ever built,” says Wilson, who attends First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Ark.

The team used foam insulation treatment to help make the house airtight. An upgraded air and filtration system provides cleaner air for Job’s lungs, and an open floor plan allows Job to easily navigate his home for as long as he is confined to a wheelchair.

Woodhaven Homes’ regular subcontractors donated time, and their regular suppliers donated the materials. Throughout the course of the week, more than 500 volunteers worked around the clock to make the McCullys’ home a reality.

“It was quite moving to see the people in the community come together and do all the things that they were willing to do,” Wilson says. “People who could hardly afford to donate time were still donating and being very helpful on the project.”

Volunteers came from all over north and central Arkansas to take part in the project, some driving upwards of three hours after work, Taneau Lipsmeyer says.

“Anyone who’s involved will never be the same; there’s no way you could be,” she says.

The McCullys’ new home includes a two-car garage, dining room, kitchen, three living areas, three bathrooms and four bedrooms — 3,300 square feet of which is heated and cooled.

The episode featuring the home aired Oct. 26, 2008. Tina says the show has not only provided a beautiful blessing but also a wonderful opportunity to share their story with a large audience.

“The Extreme Makeover show has been a wonderful opportunity to get our story out there nationwide,” she says. “Hopefully, it’ll open some doors for us to share our testimony, giving them that hope of Christ that we’ve been able to experience.”


JENNIFER McCLURE is assistant editor of Today's Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at Going Up? (jmcclure.agblogger.org).

TPExtra: A virtual tour of the McCullys' home

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