Extreme Makeover: Welcome Home Gibbs Family

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

Volunteers from all across Iowa help build on the second day of production in West Union, IA for the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on October 4, 2011. (Dallas Houtz, Sourcemedia News)


By Lisa Kunkel

WEST UNION, Iowa - Hundreds of people packed the Gibbs' family's front yard on Sunday afternoon cheering, snapping pictures and chanting “Move that bus!”

All waiting anxiously for Audrey Gibbs and her six children to see their brand new home for the first time.

The West Union Family lost their husband and father several years ago leaving mother, Audrey Gibbs to raise six children on her own. After a brain aneurysm, doctors declared the widowed mother legally blind. The family has lived in a run-down farm house most of their life leasing out land to local farmers.

"She's just a fighter,” said Debbie Honn, a close relative. “With all her medical problems, I'd have gave up years ago. She just kept raising those kids."

Last week, the hit reality TV show Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC rolled it's big bus into the Gibbs’ family gravel driveway. Their goal, to build the family a brand new home. Ty Pennington, his team of designers along with 1500 volunteers constructed the home in just seven days. On Sunday, hundreds of volunteers, friends and relatives welcomed Audrey and her six kids into their new house and new life.

"They deserve it,” said Uncle Kevin Honn. “Struggled for years and years, it's just something they needed."

Extreme Makeover is releasing few details about the interior of the home, until after the episode airs on ABC. The air date has also not yet been released. Relatives tell us the new home will allow Audrey to work as a massage therapist from home. She had to give up her job as a cosmetologist after losing her eyesight.

Gibbs’ grandfather, Roger Honn, says there is also a mechanic workshop attached to the house for the his grandsons.

“They’ve made a garage in the back for the boys to work on their motorcycles,” Honn said.

Cousin and Niece Josie Springman says she’s mostly excited for the family to have little things many people take for granted, like working toilets and a dinner table where they can all sit down together.

“Before they had to sit at a picnic table,” Springman said.

All week Extreme Makeover held fundraisers for the family as well. Today, the design team announced they were able to pay off the family’s mortgage through the local donations as well as award five of the kids scholarships from Upper Iowa University and Northeast Iowa Community College.

"The amount of love this community has for this family, we'd never be able to finish this without the volunteers,” said Sabrina Soto, member of the Extreme Makeover Design Team.

Family members say it’s a miracle and are forever in debt to the complete strangers who changed their lives.

"I just want to thank everyone for the whole family from the bottom of our hearts,” said Debbie Honn, “What they've done for Audrey it’s wonderful."

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