Volleyball Coach Picked For ’Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’
MIDDLEBURG – Joshua Garrett watched as girlfriend Ashley Brewer stepped off the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” bus Wednesday with designer Michael Moloney and walked to her tiny home on North Chicory Avenue in Clay County.
As cameras rolled, Ashley and sisters Taylor and Gina batted around a volleyball with Moloney as the ABC-TV reality show’s other designers went into the mildewed double-wide with Carrie Prewitt, who took the girls in after their parents died.
Come Wednesday, Prewitt and her “daughters” of two years will come back to Middleburg from a free Virgin Island vacation to find their leaking home off South County Road 215 replaced with something grand.
“To think this is going to be gone and we are going to have a new home is awesome,” Prewitt said of her home for 20 years.
“We are really shocked and it doesn’t feel real at all,” added Ashley, 18.
Garrett said he’ll be there to yell “Move that bus” with everyone else.
“My girlfriend was just saying how she has never had a home of her own,” Garrett said. “Now they will all have their own.”
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” has rebuilt 188 homes of families facing a major health or housing problem. The show’s producers solicited nominations for a deserving Jacksonville-area family in November, and dozens of friends and neighbors named Prewitt, a volleyball coach at Middleburg High School for 25 years.
Prewitt first met Ashley when she was a freshman at the school, and all three girls came to a summer volleyball camp. She became a mentor and friend as they dealt with the problems of a broken home.
“They just tugged my heart from the day I met them,” Prewitt said.
When their mother died of an overdose, Ashley stayed with Prewitt while her sisters were cared for by a grandmother. When their father died the same way, the sisters asked the single soccer coach if she would take them in. Prewitt said she was praying over that when they were removed from the grandmother and put in foster care.
“I just called them [Department of Children and Families] and said get them over to my house as soon as you can because they don’t deserve to be in foster care,” Prewitt said, emotion in her voice. “If they get into foster care, they were going to be separated. They had been through so much already that I couldn’t see that happening.”
The young women said their new mother took them in “right away, no question” to make a new family. But their little house has leaks, no heat in Taylor’s room, insects and one big issue – it isn’t level.
“I can’t shut my cupboard doors,” Prewitt said. “When the washer goes, the whole house shakes. I have this little angel in my bedroom window, and every time the washer goes on spin cycle, my angel starts fluttering.”
The girls learned first that their house had been chosen Wednesday morning, then joined lead designer Ty Pennington to surprise Prewitt during volleyball practice.
“Ty walked in and I just went down to my knees. I was so surprised and overwhelmed that I couldn’t stand it,” Prewitt said. “I was brought to tears. It is such a humbling experience to think that they think we are worthy.”
What do they want in their new home?
“Every room that I have lived in has never actually been for me; it’s already been there,” Ashley said. “A new room for me is what I would want the most.”
“Just a place to have fun, be together and invite some friends over,” said Taylor, 14, while Gina, 12, said she just wants “a room made for me.”
Ark Remodeling and Construction of Gainesville and J.A. Long Design Builders of Orange Park will do the build, with an estimated 3,000 workers starting after today’s demolition.
“It is just a great story of a mom taking care of three girls,” said Long’s CEO, Randy Long. “It is rare that you really get to be part of such a great story, and the Clay County community does know about this family and they are a great family.”
Show officials said the mortgage on the new home has already been paid, while Prewitt will get financial advice after she moves in.
The show’s last visit to Northeast Florida was Hastings almost six years ago.