Washington County family gets an extreme makeover

Tuesday, January 24th 2006, 11:44 am
By: News On 6

A Washington County woman's 19th wedding anniversary turned into a nightmare in April of last year, when her husband dropped dead from a heart attack. Danna White has struggled to make ends meet, with five children, no money and in a trailer home with no heat.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler traveled to Dewey to show us how hundreds of people are working around-the-clock to end her nightmare.

“It’s really happening. I couldn't believe it was really happening.” John White's brother can't believe his eyes. A nationally-televised home makeover program has enlisted an army of volunteers to work 106 straight hours to build his brother's family a new home northwest of Dewey. Can't believe it, but he's not surprised. "It's a testimony to John's life and the people he's touched in his way. Just being John."

He says John White was like of ray of light that could bring warmth to any setting, which is why Kevin says his big brother chose his life's calling to be a Baptist minister. “He had the ability to make people feel special. No matter who they were, he had the ability to make them feel like they were number one."

That may be why so many showed up to help. Greg Simmons is leading the project locally. "You know this is all about giving. All of my contractors are here because they want to be here. They're not charging a dime. Everything is donated on this whole thing."

It's not just a construction site. It's a Hollywood set where hundreds of workers are working on a hard deadline.

And it's not the only place where people are putting in a lot of hours for the White family.
Ladies at the Bluestem Baptist Church in Dewey where White pastored, have been putting in 12-hour days, assembling heartfelt masterpieces. Each of five quilts will be bound with pieces of White's favorite shirts, photos of favorite memories.

Some have never quilted before. Others have won awards for their stitching prowess. "His death brought not only the church and the family together. It brought everyone together." Pastor Ron Forest now leads the Bluestem flock. He says this has been a time of healing and rebuilding. "It's just a time for us as a church family to love on them plus give them a time to grieve, because they needed that."

The White family is vacationing in Florida while their house is being built. It's supposed to be finished on Saturday. All ten of John White's children will be there for the unveiling.