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Extreme Support from Harvest Garden Pro

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

The healthy soils and mulch products that Harvest Garden Pro contributed to the Sussex County Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build represent the ultimate in sustainable landscaping products. In addition to donating these sustainable materials, Harvest Garden Pro has generously responded to the call for monetary donations with their contribution of $50,000.00, placing them in “rare air” as our top cash sponsor.  That’s some extreme support!

“When I saw the opportunity, I wanted to jump in and get involved,” says Joe Kollock, co-president of Harvest Garden Pro. “I’m one of those Extreme Makeover crybabies.” You’re not alone, Joe. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition often reduces caring people to tears when we realize just how compassionate a community can be, and how powerful the show is.
“This project will have a positive impact at a grassroots level. We wanted to be a part of that effort. The fact that it’s a local project in our backyard also inspired us to contribute,” says Meredith Sorenson, marketing manager for Harvest Garden Pro. And, adds Meredith, “we appreciate Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s focus on family. Strong families help build resilient communities.”
Harvest Garden Pro sells top quality mulches, potting mixes and garden soils that are available at independently owned garden centers, as well as at Home Depot and Lowe’s. “We like to think it’s the best landscaping material in the country,” says Joe. Harvest Garden Pro’s products “offer homeowners and landscape designers the opportunity to enhance their environment with sustainable landscaping products,” says Meredith.

Learn more at

How Can You Top an Extreme Makeover Reveal?

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

Thursday morning, I attended the 10:00 am press conference at the newly “Revealed” Jusst Sooup Ranch, the latest and I believe, greatest Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build. I came expecting to hear a simple wrap up of the project that has consumed me and over 2000 volunteers from around the country for the past 9 days.

I expected to hear an overview of the build; how well everything went in spite of an earthquake, a hurricane, and several tornadoes. I expected to hear about the costs of the project, the generosity of sponsors and selflessness of volunteers. And, of course I expected to hear reaction from Dale and Ken Dunning, and their son Brooks about the experience of being chosen for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, how surprised they are over the outpouring of generosity from the community, and perhaps a bit about Reveal day, how they not only received the soup kitchen they had dreamed of, but were surprised with 2 gorgeous homes, an expansive pavilion, a storage facility, vegetable gardens and even play equipment.
I know that neither I, nor the Dunnings, for that matter, expected the surprises to keep coming, and coming and coming, with even more gifts from local businesses and individuals.
Under beautifully blue, sunny skies, the Dunnings sat calmly next to their beautiful new pavilion, located just behind the new soup kitchen, as person after person presented them with additional gifts.
There were donations to help with general home-ownership costs; William’s Insurance Agency gave homeowner’s coverage, First State Disposal donated trash disposal and recycling services, and Brasure’s Pest Control will provide product and labor to keep termites and other critters away. Sharp Energy donated gas for the Dunnings’ new high efficiency tankless water heaters and gas ranges.
Some of the gifts will help the Dunnings enjoy their new home that much more. Monthly cleaning services will be provided by Beach House Cleaning, LLC., and Comcast will provide a year’s worth of free cable service.
A group of Schell Brothers employees did their own fundraising, and presented the Dunnings with yard tools and equipment that conveniently fit inside a landscaping trailer donated by Weller’s Trailers with a sign reading “Sooup-R-Cuts” for Ken Dunning’s lawncare business. A Kubota Zero-Degree Turn Radius Mower, donated by Burke Equipment will be especially appreciated for cutting Jusst Sooup Ranch’s 6 acres of property.
There were also gifts designed to specifically help Dale’s ministry of feeding the poor. Smithfield Ham donated hams, plus an additional $500 as part of their “Helping Hungry Homes” program. Dental care was offered by Dr.’s Fox and Butterworth, not only for the Dunning family, but for 5 additional Jusst Sooup friends.
Finally, to help cover additional expenses, Schell Brothers presented a professionally managed endowment fund of $300,000 to the Dunnings.
All these wonderful gifts have done so much more than give the Dunnings the physical means to make and serve soup to the hungry. Each gift is an acknowledgment to the Dunnings, that their ministry matters. “We didn’t do it to be seen,” a tearfully joyous Dale Dunning said to the media and attendees of yesterday’s press conference, “but you were watching! This ministry is the joy of my heart!”
With the build project done, the Jusst Sooup Ranch is equipped and ready to feed the hungry. “When I can make 900-1000 quarts of soup on a four-burner stove, imagine- imagine what I can do with the soup kitchen!” Dale said to the crowd. With Dale’s dedication to her ministry, we’re certain we won’t have to merely imagine it for long.

Meet Superior Walls

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

Blake Tomford of Superior Walls talked with us about the amazing product being used for the crawl space foundation in the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Sussex County build.

“Our insulated concrete foundation system was installed in 20 minutes with our crew of 14, and is pre-framed and ready to finish,” says Blake. The concrete sections were lowered with a crane, one at a time, and secured with a custom blend adhesive. “The concrete we use is impervious to moisture, too, and comes with a 15-year warranty,” says Blake.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has used Superior Walls’ product in four of its builds this year. “They were looking for a fast setting product, and we were the only solution,” says Blake. “And, we like to support such a great cause,” he said.
Superior Walls’ pre-formed concrete foundation systems meet or exceed the industry’s most stringent new green building home standards. Their new X-1 product is R-12.5 rated and is Certified NHB (National Association of Homebuilders) Green.
Offered in crawl space and full height sizes, Superior Walls’ foundation system is manufactured and sold through 15 independently owned and operated facilities.

Massage Therapists Donate Talents to the Cause

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

Janet Bly, a licensed massage therapist with Chiropractic Athletic Center in York, PA, and Clinical Coordinator at The Baltimore School of Massage has worked behind the scenes at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition before.

“I was contacted by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for the Etters, Pennsylvania build and they asked me to do a massage tent there.” Her connections came in handy when she thought of organizing a similar set-up at this week’s Sussex County build. “The location manager from that site put me in touch with the location manager of this site, and I volunteered to organize one here,” says Janet.
Among the volunteers is licensed massage therapist Kim Stockslager, lead instructor of the Harris School of Business’ Massage Therapy program. “We require our students to do community service and outreach, so we were excited for the chance to come out to do this,” says Kim.

Janet Bly working on a volunteer

Janet contacted area massage schools as well as her past employer, Dr. Garrett Herring of Acoustic Chiropractic in Milford to join in the volunteer effort. “I don’t often get a chance to get out in the community, so I said, let me get out and do this, and give back,” says Dr. Herring.
The enthusiastic massage therapists and students offered free massages to volunteers, while Dr. Herring has been performing chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture. The steady stream of volunteers flowing into the white massage tent shows once again that everyone, no matter how unique their talents are, can get involved and make a difference in the community.
“This is amazing,” says Dr. Herring. “Awesome. Shockingly fast!” he adds.

Solar Power Builds Happiness for Years to Come

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

Even before they had details about the  project, Clean Energy USA and SunPower Corporation eagerly volunteered their time and materials to help Schell Brothers and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition accomplish the goal of building a home for a Sussex County family in need in just one week.

“We were honored to get involved with the cause. Why wouldn’t we want to be involved?” says John Sertich of Clean Energy USA. “It feels great knowing we are contributing to a local family. It honestly makes us happy to be able to give,” adds John.
On Monday, August 29, bullhorn in hand, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘s Ty Pennington, the EM:HE design team, and a community of volunteers will surprise one local family with the prize of a lifetime, a beautiful, new, sustainably-built home to support their ministry.
Enter SunPower Corporation, manufacturer of the most powerful solar energy systems on the planet, capable of virtually eliminating electric bills, and Clean Energy USA. As the region’s leading solar design and installation company, Clean Energy USA is especially proud to be using SunPower’s cost saving solar technology in the Sussex County project. “Solar is especially important to this process because once the family moves in, the SunPower system will eliminate a majority of their electric bills,” says John.
In fact, the solar technology in this particular build is on track to provide complete freedom from electrical expenditures for the home. “We’ve already received 25kW of solar from SunPower. We hope that it will be more than enough to cover the entire electric bill for the family. In fact, we’ve gone to an electric based HVAC system (instead of gas) to make sure the HVAC cost is also covered by the solar,” says Schell Brothers owner Chris Schell.
According to John, Delaware offers incentives and favorable laws that make solar affordable. What’s more, in one year alone, a solar system can save homeowners $3,000! 25-year warranties on solar panels ensure that the savings will continue for many years.
Clean Energy USA also shared their thoughts with us about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and the show’s mission. “It goes to show that people really do have a giving spirit and tune in by the millions to watch good things happen to deserving people. In that vein, everyone we have worked with from the show have been kind people who seem to really care about the families they are helping and the mission their show is all about. A lot of the show’s team spends much of their life on the road and everyone I talked to seems to think that it is worth the sacrifice specifically because they are helping people,” says John.
We would like to applaud Clean Energy USA and SunPower Corporation for their giving spirit and generosity. The money saving solar technology they are providing and installing will undoubtedly bring cost savings, comfort, and peace of mind to this deserving family in Sussex County.  What a great way to Build Happiness!
For more information about including solar in your designs, visit Clean Energy USA and SunPower Corporation.

Meet Some Volunteers

By Erin Lee, in Extreme

Everyone has something to offer. I think that’s one of the most obvious themes of today’s activity at the build site. Some people have very strong personal motivations for volunteering, while others just want to be help out because they can. I’ve had a wonderful day meeting some of the many volunteers who are helping to make Dale Dunning’s dream a reality. Here are just a few of their stories.

Fran purposely selected the 2am-8am (yes, that’s A.M.) shift to volunteer her time and energy because she figured no one else would want (or be able) to take that time. “I’m unemployed right now, don’t have small kids at home…” said Fran. Fran purchased a condo from Schell Brothers a few years ago, and has great memories of the experience. “I like Schell, and I love the show, too. It’s just the perfect combo!”
I also met Marissa and Lisa, two teachers from Cape Henlopen High School. Both were excited to be able to have the time available to help out an area family. “We don’t have to be at school until next week,” they said.
While many companies donated money or materials, Tabitha’s company donated… her! “I was going to use vacation time to help out, but then they decided to just donate me, instead!” says Tabitha. Tabitha is volunteering with Schell’s marketing team this week.
Sergeant Fuscellaro of Delaware State Police said “She (Dale Dunning) deserves this. She does a lot for the community.” Sgt. Fuscellaro and his coworkers will each be working 4, 8-hour shifts to cover the police-needs of the build. “It’s nice to get to help a family in the area,” he said.
Joe Thompson III, and David Beiteman were standing in the volunteer staging area Monday evening when I talked with them. Both helped put up metal barricade fencing in the afternoon, helped move the Dunning family out of their current home, and helped rake crushed stone that was being added to the home’s foundation.  “I like to watch the show,” says David, who worked for a local homebuilder. “It’s very uplifting and positive,” says Joe, an area plumber.
There are so many people, all coming together with one purpose this week. That’s what’s so incredibly inspiring and powerful about Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When I stood back along Route 9, and looked in at the build site this afternoon, I was humbled by what I saw; hundreds of generous people selflessly volunteering whatever they could offer to the project. Every single person working  there, was there because they wanted to be part of something so wonderful. They wanted to lend whatever talents they have, whatever energy, motivation, or time they had, to helping the dream of a community hero come true.
I hope to meet many more of our amazing volunteers and share their stories this week!

Concord Truss

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

State of the art trussing technology is instrumental in designing and manufacturing today’s gabled roof designs, sturdy walls and flooring.

To meet modern day creative design challenges, the progressive and innovative thinkers at Concord Truss design and build trusses at their 45,000 square foot facility in Woodbury Heights, New Jersey. It has achieved the reputation of being one of the largest, most efficient plants of its kind in the United States.
Concord Truss’ focus on quality products, service, and integrity has made them the go-to source for trussing in the mid-Atlantic area. When asked about how they got involved in the Sussex County Extreme Makeover project, company spokesman Darin Phalines said “Chris (Schell) asked us if we wanted to help out, and we’re not going to say “no” to Schell Brothers! We’ve always had a good relationship with them- we like how they respond to us.”
The scope of the Sussex County build is enormous. “Today has been about everything,” says Darin. “The floors, the walls and the roof- it’s a big package deal.” A non-Extreme Makeover trussing project as large as this would take weeks, instead of hours, to complete.”The challenge of the day was how fast it went up, and how quick it had to come together,” says Darin.
Thank you, Concord Truss for generously provided the trussing used in our Sussex County Extreme Makeover Home Edition build.
For information on Concord Truss Company, visit

Food and Friends in the VIP Tent

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

Tuesday night, in the VIP tent at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Sussex County build, local business owners Katherine and Damian Birl, and their children, Colin, 12, Sophia, 9, and Gavin, 6, treated folks to an evening of their Smokin D’z real pit BBQ.

“We know Dale (Dunning). When we order too much food, or cook extra, we share it with her,” said Katherine. “It’s so nice to see good people being blessed. Sometimes it seems like life isn’t very fair, but these people are so deserving. They’re so humbled by this,” she said. “They’re also very nice people,” added daughter Sophia.
The air-conditioned VIP tent is set up to host special visitors to the site and treat them to uniquely themed meals. VIPs are also afforded the opportunity to watch the build up close in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, and have the chance to connect with some of the sponsors, builders and behind-the-scenes folks.
Today, I was delighted to meet a couple of VIPs and talk with them a bit about the project unfolding in front of us.

Betty Trammell with daughter Brittany and friend Lumekka

“I’m here for two reasons,” explains Betty Trammel. “Dale is my childhood friend; we graduated from Cape Henlopen High School together,” she adds. In fact, the ladies met when they were about 5 years old, and used to play together, trading off between visits to each others’ homes. “But I’m also a member of his church,” she says, motioning to friend Ouemonde Brangman, seated beside her. “That’s my second reason for being here.”
Ouemonde is also a friend of Dale’s, and the Pastor of New Zion AME Church, located a couple houses down from the location of the Dunning’s soon-to-be-new home. In addition to Sunday service, his church offers shelter facilities. “Dale sometimes refers people to us, and she also does a good job of screening the people she sends here,” he says. Pastor Ouemonde mentioned that he won’t be in town to watch the build for the next few days. “But I’m sure she’ll let me have a tour when I get back,” he says with a smile.
Thank you to all of our VIPs not only for your incredible support of this extreme project, but also for supporting the Dunnings. Their positive impact on our community is inspiring to everyone involved in this project. Also, thank you to all of our generous food sponsors who are so lovingly sharing the gift of food with us this week.
Smokin D’z can be found at Dawn’s Country Market in Milton, and can be reached via email,, or at Smokin D’z on Facebook.
New Zion AME Church offers weekly 10 am Sunday services, and monthly “Youth Sundays” with BBQ’s afterward. The church is located on Rt.9 just east of Cool Spring Road, and can be reached at (302) 253-8212.

Meet Some Volunteers: Fauxbulous FX

By Erin Lee, in Extreme Sponsors

The build site, with all of its earth moving and wall building, is certainly the eye-catching center-ring focus of the past few days, but taking a short walk around the build site and behind the tree line reveals another area of busy activity.

Meet Lynn and Polly, sisters, faux finishers and owners of Fauxbulous FX, Inc., and their new friend Lisa, a talented muralist, from the Rehoboth Beach area. These ladies are working their magic in the Art World tent, an area off-limits to spectators. While we can’t reveal any specifics of the work they’re doing, we can say that they have amazing talents that are being shared with the Dunnings and the community through their involvement in Exteme Makeover: Home Edition.
When we met the ladies, they were deep in conversation with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘s own Art Director, Kim Lewis. Kim had sent a picture to Polly and Lynn before the build date, and told them to bring what they needed to make the project look like the picture. “Everything you see back here – we brought, and are donating, all of it,” says Polly, pointing to the 3 foot wide by 20 foot long pile of supplies and materials.
Two more ladies, Sue and Julie, and Lisa’s daughter Katelyn, work nearby on the project, too. “Katelyn has experience from helping paint walls at home,” says Lisa. Julie and Sue muse that they’ve been drafted into the family through their partnership in the project.
When asked to share their feelings about getting involved with the EMHE build this week, there’s nothing “faux” about the ladies’ responses. “It’s just so exciting! It’s heart warming! It’s really an honor to be a part of it,” says Polly. “So exciting!” says Lisa. “The show makes me cry, but I love it!”
Fauxbulous FX, Inc., does both residential and commercial faux finishing and texturing. They can be contacted through their website Lisa can be contacted for mural projects via email,

Jusst Sooup’s Humble Beginnings

By Erin Lee, in Extreme

The little white fellowship hall that stands adjacent to Rehoboth Presbyterian Church at Midway, at the intersection of Rt. 24 and Rt. 1 in Lewes, Delaware will forever have a lovely story to tell. A story of a generous, kind-hearted woman with a mission.

The small building is one of several sites where Dale Dunning ladled out soup for folks in need. “The Church owns the building, but they’ve let her use it as a soup kitchen for years,” says Michelle Snyder, a friend of Dale Dunning, and frequent volunteer at Dale’s Jusst Sooup Ministries.
“I first noticed the soup kitchen when my daughter, Cheyenne, 9, was in preschool. Then, I had my son, Wyatt, 6. When he was old enough to go to preschool, I decided to ask if I could volunteer for Dale.” Michelle (and now, her children too), has been volunteering there for four years. “My kids love it there,” says Michelle. In fact, Wyatt particularly loves to come to the soup kitchen to play checkers with Big Daddy, a frequent volunteer at Jusst Sooup who ministers to men, delivers food to elderly shut-ins, and also helps to distribute clothing to folks in need. “It’s so good for my kids to help there. It teaches them that life can change so quickly. We could all be in need of someone’s help in the blink of an eye,” says Michelle.
When asked how to describe Mrs. Dunning, Michelle says she can sum it up in one word: “Selfless.” Every morning, Dale is up at 2 am, to start preparing the day’s soups selections. Two varieties each day, along with fruit punch, cider and crackers. Dale makes over 1,000 quarts of soup every week. “She says she can’t even begin to tell anybody God’s Word, until their bellies are full,” says Michelle.
The little white building, though, is hardly set up for producing soup for a crowd. “It took us an hour and a half just to boil water to cook corn on the cob,” says Michelle.  Even so, Dale and her team of volunteers has continued this ministry of serving soup to hungry people for the last 12 years.
Dale’s ministry began many years ago, when she began her Theological Studies in nearby Georgetown. “Many of her classes were at night, and she realized many of the other students who worked all day, weren’t eating before they came to class,” says Michelle. Dale started making soup, and bringing it to feed her fellow students. “She was really touched by the bonding and friendships that were possible with such a humble food,” says Michelle. “It grew from there.”
Supported only by personal funds and donations, Dale, son Brooks, and husband Ken, who works three jobs to support his wife’s ministry, dreamed of a permanent location for their soup kitchen; one that could feed so many more, offer more kitchen and prep space, and also storage space.
In January of this year, Schell Brothers stepped in and donated 6 acres of land to Mrs. Dunning, with the intention of helping to develop the property at some point in the future for her soup kitchen. Little did Schell Brothers know, that soon after that donation and commitment were made, they would be on the path to fulfilling that promise.
In a fortuitous chain of events, at a builder’s conference this past spring, members of the Schell Brothers team got to meet producers from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. After learning more about the show and the application process, they decided to nominate Dale Dunning for the show. Everyone was elated to discover she had been chosen, and that the 6 acres of donated land would be used as the site of the Dunning’s new home.
Now that the Dunnings have been revealed as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition‘s latest chosen family, extreme progress is being made at the construction site.  Every day, we are treated to a bit bigger picture of the exciting plans Schell Brothers and the EM:HE design team envisioned for the donated property, and how it will address Jusst Sooup’s community outreach needs.