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This story has been updated: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 9:45 a.m.
Crime Welcomes TV Crew

'Extreme Makeover' Team Reveals Rebuilt Home to ABQ Pastor, Family

By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer

When is it on? Scheduled: Sunday, April 27 at 6 p.m. on KOAT-7; check local listings for time in your area.

See ABQ Home Makeover (Friday, 18 January 2008)

RELATED STORY: Experiencing the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Process in ABQ

More Coverage at KOAT-TV

    "Move that bus!" "Move that bus!" "Move that bus!" The crowd lining Grove and Bell streets chanted that in unison Tuesday afternoon. And when the bus finally did pull forward to reveal the view, the Rev. Gerald Martinez, overcome with emotion, bent at the waist and his wife, Liesa, buckled at the knees. The smallest member of the family, Bethany, held her hands to her face and appeared to weep with joy.
    With that, the weeklong filming of the popular television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" drew to an end in Albuquerque.

[+] Click to enlarge
Marla Brose/Journal

The ABC-TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" shows the Martinez family their new home during filming on Jan. 22. From top, Gerald Martinez, his wife, Liesa, and their children, from left, Alie, Levi, Maggie-Jean and Bethany.

Extreme Makeover in ABQ slideshow

  • Experiencing the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Process in ABQ story
  • See ABQ Home Makeover Jan. 18 blog

  •     "It was just awesome," said Georgia Martinez, Gerald's sister. "There's just so much excitement you can't even contain it. And then to see them (the family) come out with their eyes all red ..."
        Gerald Martinez, pastor of nearby Joshua's Vineyard Church in the City, and his family were the beneficiaries of the show that, by its own explanation, takes a "run-down house" and "a deserving family" and builds and decorates their home.
        In this case, there were two new structures created: a two-story, sandstone-colored, Southwestern-style home for the family and an adobe-colored duplex to be used as part of the ministry's outreach. Two existing homes also were remodeled.
        The extensive makeover will be featured in an upcoming episode.
        Occasional brutally cold weather, which prompted some construction delays, failed to stop a team of more than 3,000 construction workers and other volunteers who helped complete the makeover in a week.
        Everything that went into the makeover was contributed, said Darren Drevik of Atreus Homes & Communities, the lead builder.
        "So it truly is the community of Albuquerque doing this," Drevik said. "It's not a TV show coming to town and building a house, and that sometimes gets lost in all the show biz part of it."
        But the show and its stars, led by Ty Pennington, were no doubt a big draw over the course of the build that began in earnest Thursday morning when the buildings were razed.
        " 'Extreme Makeover' always does wonderful things for these families," said Sophia Orosco, who watched as the work was shown to the family Tuesday. "Just to come out and experience it and see a family that deserves something get something special is very nice."
        "You're going to make us cry just talking about it," said her niece, Lorrisa Orosco.
        Lorena Bencomo, who lives in Trumbull, called the project great for an area that is sometimes still misperceived.
        "People think it's really bad," she said. "It's not the best neighborhood, but we have good people here and here's the proof: the Martinez family. ... I think it's great that we have these kinds of people living here."
        Gerald Martinez has been lauded for work in the area since arriving about five years ago with his family. He's credited with "transforming his church into a refuge for the needy ... As crime rates decreased and the community began getting media attention, Gerald purchased two other duplexes that would be used to create the 'Mission Outpost,' a place where broken people could recover from their troubles," reads the announcement saying the family was chosen for the TV show.
        Those who took part in the makeover said the effort was well worth it.
        "More than seeing the cast of the show, it was awesome to meet the workers, the volunteers, hearing their stories" about why they wanted to be a part of it, said James Hernandez, an Edgewood resident and First Community Bank employee who volunteered at the site for the duration of the project.
        "It's about a jump-start for the community. It's not just about one family. It's about the community."
        But Tuesday, it might have been a little more about the stars. Pennington and the other designers from the show, like Paul, Paige, Michael and Ed, came to the corner of Grove and Bell SE, showing off the work, filming it and eliciting cheers from the crowd, smiling for photos and signing autographs.
        "I'm tempted to scream, 'Ty, you're hot!' '' 15-year-old spectator Roberta Cooke said.
        And she eventually did.