'Extreme Makeover' family: 'God bless all of you'The payback for years of “Paying It Forward” continued for the Bill and Adair Grommesh family Monday night.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM
The payback for years of “Paying It Forward” continued for the Bill and Adair Grommesh family Monday night.
A day after being given a new handicapped-accessible home, the family thanked everyone who made the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” house happen – and came away with a few more gifts.
“I had goosebumps starting several blocks away. It was so surreal and unreal,” driving up to the 5,200-square-foot home Sunday at 803 22nd Ave. S., said Adair Grommesh.
She said the interior is beautiful, particularly since it is built to be handicapped-accessible for their son, 10-year-old Garrett, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair.
“I sensed instant relief. I saw there was no barriers for Garrett. It was the most beautiful house. It doesn’t look therapeutic. It looks warm and inviting like anybody else’s house. It’s a house that he can have an opportunity to move around freely and get independence and take the burden off of us,” she said.
The family said they would stay in their new home Monday night.
“It’s wonderful,” Garrett said of the home. “It was beautiful. I can get to everything.”
Adair Grommesh wept as she thanked builders Tyrone Leslie and Daryl Braham of Heritage Homes.
“For every person that gave up their time, gave up their time with their families, time from their jobs, God bless all of you, for doing this for us. And we will pay it forward.”
The Grommeshes were joined by the Izja and Valdete Hajdari family, recipients of the Grommeshes’ former home, which now sits at 1928 8th Ave. N. in Moorhead.
Valdete Hajdari said the new home “changed my life.”
The Hajdari family’s four daughters said they look forward to playing in the yard. They have a swing set “and a mailbox out front!” one of the daughters chimed in.
Valdete Hadjari said her family is still working on the closing paperwork.
An estimated 8,000 people turned out for the “Extreme Makeover” reveal on Sunday.
“I think the thing that is most remarkable is that we saw so many people we knew, but it’s the magnitude of the people we didn’t know that came out to cheer us on and tell us these words of love. That’s what really touched out hearts,” Adair Grommesh said.
She added that the family will also be able to spend more time with Garrett’s sister, Peighton, 11, who has a pancreatic enzyme deficiency known as Axenfeld-Reiger’s syndrome.
“This is going to allow Garrett to be independent and to really thrive and be the greatest young man he can,” Bill Grommesh said.
“I look forward to just starting a new life,” Garrett said.
Both families got some more gifts.
Concordia College officials presented full four-year scholarships to Garrett and Peighton. Each of the four Hajdari children will also receive scholarships worth $10,000 a year for four years.
Fargo Force hockey players and coaches gave the Grommeshes season tickets, jerseys and other gifts.
The band “32 Below” gave the family more than $6,000 raised at a benefit concert held before the 106-hour construction blitz.
Country Kitchen restaurants of Detroit Lakes, Minn., Fargo and Dickinson, N.D., gave $5,000 to Hope Inc., the nonprofit run by the Grommeshes that helps special-needs children and young adults.
And the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre gave $1,000 from a benefit play.
Cable One also gave the Grommeshes free Internet, television and phone service for a year.
Adair Grommesh said that the family promised the ABC television network that they wouldn’t open the home to the public until the show airs, which is expected to be sometime between mid-November and mid-December.
“When the time is right, we will have an open house so everyone can come through,” she said.
What was revealed during construction is that the home has an indoor pool with a lift for Garrett, an elevator, three bedrooms, five bathrooms and a two-car garage.
Garrett was also supposed to have several surprises built into his bedroom to reflect his love of things secret, Braham told crowds during the building process.
Fundraising is still going on to pay expenses related to the project. About $40,000 toward a goal of a little more than $85,000 has been raised so far, said Megan Messer, a spokeswoman for Heritage Homes.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583