"EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION" GIVES A FRESH START TO A LOCAL HERO AND SINGLE DAD WITH FIVE CHILDREN IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Trent Green and Tony Richardson from the Kansas City Chiefs Lend a Helping Hand
"Johnson Family" -- Kansas City firefighter Stephen Johnson is a man who is used to rescuing others and a hero to so many, including to his own five children. In an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" airing SUNDAY, MAY 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) on the ABC Television Network, the design team will renovate his home in a mere seven days, a fitting gesture to this man who, in addition to his dangerous duties as a firefighter, also works as a barber and a window washer in order to support his family.
In 2004, called to the scene of a house explosion in south Kansas City, Stephen risked his own life to save a paramedic, Mary Seymour, who had been shot when she came under fire from a nearby house. Mary, who nominated the Johnson family to "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," recalls that Stephen led the arriving pack of firefighters who saved her life by first controlling her bleeding and administering oxygen, then carrying her across the exposed area to an ambulance. With no thought to his own safety, Stephen braved gunfire and explosions to pull her out of harm's way.
But his heroism isn't all on the job. Besides raising three kids of his own - Stephen Jr., 18, Duane, 14 and Gina, 12 -- Stephen rescued two neighborhood kids, Brandon, 15, and Ryan, 13, from the foster care system after their adoptive mother passed away. When Duane pleaded with his father to save Brandon and Ryan from being separated from everything they'd ever known, Stephen didn't flinch. Understanding the two boys' need to have not only love but also a positive male role model in their lives, he took up the challenge and is now their hero too.
But the house they all live in is small and, for lack of space, Brandon and Ryan live in a cold and uncomfortable basement. Still, they're warmed by the knowledge that their new father is doing the best he can to make their lives better. The other children have also had to make sacrifices since Brandon and Ryan joined the family, but as Duane says, "I gained two brothers, and that's better."
On his off days from his 24-hour shift at the firehouse, Stephen comes home from his other jobs at the barbershop or as a window washer to cook dinner and help the kids with their homework. This unrelenting schedule leaves little time to address the numerous problems in their 1200-square-foot ranch house. Some of these include windows that leak cold air and water, and a roof that has become so damaged that water now drips down into the walls. Stephen gave up his one luxury in the house, the master bedroom, so that his daughter, the only female in the home, could have her own bathroom. Meanwhile, all the men in the house share one other bathroom, which is in a state of severe disrepair.
Stephen raises his children with the selfless edict that one does all one can, and then some. He's also a pillar of support for his sister and mother. He stays strong for his family, as a dad, a brother and a son, and he stays strong for his community as a firefighter. For all that Stephen Johnson has done to help others, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" wants to step in and build a house that will give this real-life hero and his family a fresh start.
The design team, homebuilder Kevin Green Homes, plus hundreds of crew members and volunteers joined forces to transform the house. Also, Trent Green and Tony Richardson from the Kansas City Chiefs came by to lend a helping hand. Meanwhile, the Johnson family enjoyed a vacation at Disney World.
The design team for this episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will feature team leader Ty Pennington, Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney, Constance Ramos and Ed Sanders. The series is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA. It's executive-produced by Tom Forman. The co-executive producer of this episode is Denise Cramsey.
For information and resources on helping needyfamilies like the Johnsons, log onto ABC.com, keyword Home Makeover, where you can link to the A Better Community website for a list of non-profit organizations/charities and for information on getting involved and making a donation.
This program carries a TV-PG parental guideline.