News: Wasp Sailors Aid in “Extreme Makeover” Project
PORTSMOUTH, Va. – As members of the Hampton Roads community, USS Wasp sailors often give their time to help out those in need, and that tradition continued Jan. 31 - Feb. 6 as 19 Wasp crewmembers helped build a house in Virginia Beach during a filming of the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
“What we’ve done is to change the life of a family forever, and for us to be a part of helping others in the Hampton Roads community is a big deal,” said Lt. Matthew Weems, Wasp’s ship’s chaplain.
The show’s format involves the destruction of an old home and the building of a new one for a needy family. Wasp’s involvement with the show’s Virginia Beach project began when members of the ship’s Volunteer Service Program committee heard about it on the radio.
“Soon after we learned about it, we called the show’s producers and volunteered to help,” said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Richard Weaver.
During the project, many other volunteers, both civilian and military, aided in the effort.
“The immediate response was huge when we put the word out,” said Betsy Burns, the project’s volunteer coordinator. “Since Hampton Roads is such a close-knit community, we had volunteers from all branches of the armed forces as well as civilians, many with military ties, come out to help.”
The Wasp Sailors aided in tasks such as clearing the road of debris and helping to repair lawns dug up by construction machinery. On Feb. 5, they performed crowd control duty as the new house was revealed to the waiting family.
“It was a very emotional moment for them,” said Weaver. “They were excited to see their brand new home ready for them to move into.”
For other volunteers, helping to build a brand new house is simply part of a good day’s work.
“I did an ‘Extreme Makeover’ project in Jonesboro, North Carolina, and it’s a great thing to do because it helps out families and the community as a whole,” said Jay Burns, one of the local residents who helped.
For Weaver, the main benefit of the project is the fact that those in need received assistance in getting back on their feet.
“It was a chance to give back to the community, and to be involved in a charitable project such as this is always a good thing,” he said.