On Thursday I was asked to pull together a small team of Extreme Makeover volunteers for a special project at Miracle Field on Friday. It was a project that we knew would be filmed and that would require flexibility on the part of the volunteers. In total we sent out 22 volunteers – 20 that were blue-shirted and two of our emergency management team members who were green-shirted. This team connected with the on-site folks at Miracle Field and helped manage check-in, parking and the groups waiting to create the wheelchair formation. We sent the 22 over shortly after 1 PM with a proviso that we believed they would be there until 6 and maybe a tad later. They actually got back to check-in somewhere around the 7 o’clock hour – exhausted, but elated.
I went over to Miracle Field to check on the volunteer team at 2 PM and recognized immediately that the heat coupled with the lack of shade was going to quickly start wearing on folks – particularly those folks in wheelchairs who were already registered and had many more hours to wait. I dare not complain when we have a lovely day like yesterday in this area in October – a day that reaches the mid-80s – but for this one event it was not ideal. Alas, Mother Nature so rarely consults with me prior to weather decisions…had she I would have politely requested mild 70 weather with a light breeze for this event.
At 80+ degrees and what appeared to be at least three more hours of waiting for these folks I was quite concerned for their well-being. Luckily the 22 we had at the site were great at accommodating my requests to ensure that all the folks’ needs were addressed and that they remained hydrated. The massive amount of water that was at the site when I arrived at 2 PM was gone by the time I left at 3 PM and thankfully additional water and snacks were run in shortly thereafter. The 22 Extreme volunteers working the site kept their cool and helped everyone else keep theirs during what became a very long, hot afternoon.
Happily, the Extreme volunteers reported that despite the heat and the challenges that came up it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and they enjoyed it. Many, if not all of them, were caught on film and will hopefully make it into the final cut of the piece on Miracle Field. Also, they were able to get photos of and with some of the show’s stars. Below is a group of the ladies with Ty Pennington. The one right in front of Ty is my oldest daughter Sarah (who is beside herself with glee about this photo – indeed she has already cropped out all the other girls and just has herself and Ty featured as her current Facebook photo – she is quite the Ty fan).
The most notable thing I heard though about the Miracle Field project yesterday was about the way that Paul Dimeo conducted himself. Often the show’s talent are shuttled in and out for shots and their time visiting with folks is fairly limited. As I understand it, Paul Dimeo made a concerted effort to spend time with the folks out at the site – signing autographs, shaking hands, posing for photos – even after the production crew tried to hurry him along. He recognized the commitment of the folks who had been waiting in the heat for hours to participate in the moment taking place at Miracle Field – he realized it was more than just good T.V. – he realized it really was all about the heart and he honored that. So bravo to Paul Dimeo (truth be told, he has always been my favorite based on the heart he has displayed on the show) – it is gratifying to know that the image they portray of him on the show is genuine.
Plus, he is so stinkin’ adorable…yes, it is true – I confess – I have a tad of a crush on him. A genuine, down-to-earth Italian boy raised in Pennsylvania who is also creative, passionate, dedicated and charming – well, duh…what’s not to love? Feel free to join the Paul Dimeo crush bandwagon – I imagine it winds around the block a few times.
Ah, but I digress…the point here is to extend again my thanks to the cool 22 who were tasked with the responsibility of keeping things running smoothly out at the site and who spent hours running around and sweating to make sure that this was the moment it needed to be for not only all the folks there, but also for Hope, Inc. and the Grommesh family. Your dedication was extreme, as is my appreciation! 😉
Day four hundred and sixty of the new forty – obla di obla da