Volunteers descend upon Stagecoach for home makeover show

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Kassidy Kreins, 10, of Reno, assists on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" at 8755 Cimarron Trail in Stagecoach on Saturday. The Boettcher Family has been chosen for a makeover by the popular ABC show.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Kassidy Kreins, 10, of Reno, assists on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" at 8755 Cimarron Trail in Stagecoach on Saturday. The Boettcher Family has been chosen for a makeover by the popular ABC show.

Apache Drive ain't much to look at.

Rife with potholes, lined with barbed wire and rusty chainlink.

If you're driving it, turn the radio down to hear a chorus of stray dogs whose howling refracts off the clapboard and single-wide homes sinking into the horizon.

Welcome to Stagecoach - population 2,300.

Welcome Hollywood.

"Stagecoach welcomes Extreme Home Makeover," reads a handmade sign in front of Slidin' Clydes' bar at the corner of Apache Drive and Highway 50.

Indeed, take a little stroll down Apache this week, and you'll see something else besides tire marks on a seemingly endless county road: Boom mics, cranes, catering tents, $500,000 TV cameras and of course - reality TV's paragons of giving.

ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" came into town with the frenzy of last weekend's storm.

Host Ty Pennington will rip the blindfold from the collective Boettcher family Friday to reveal their dream - a new life.

The Boettchers, founders of the Christian youth group Soul'd Out Ministries, learned before Thanksgiving that they were in the running for a new house from the show - now filming its fifth season.

On Friday, the Boettcher family was whisked from Stagecoach to Kona, Hawaii, where they will convalesce during the week while more than 300 community members, volunteers, builders, behind-the-scenes crew and well-wishers transform their lives.

Saturday was moving day.

Don Hatt, owner of Five Star Moving and Storage, of Sparks, brought a crew of four with him Saturday morning to help move tables, couches, rugs and items from the family's community recreation room to a 44-foot container.

Some of Boettcher's things, of course, may not make it back into the home.

"Lots of this stuff might not make it back," Hatt said. "But those things will get donated.

"I can only imagine how (great) this is going to be when they're done. It's just an honor to get to help."

While plenty of security surrounded the three-block radius of the home - which consists of one small building and a garage/recreation center - the only sign the unassuming structures serve as anything but a small family's confines are the hand-painted "no drugs" and "no alcohol" signs propped up against a pair of leafless trees.

Curious neighbors pointed and fidgeted as the neighborhood was overrun with Hollywood types pressing the secret-service-like ear mics clad in trademark blue "Extreme Makeover" jackets.

"This is it," said Rachel Kielborn, production coordinator for Lock and Key Productions, the company responsible for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Deal or No Deal" and "Fear Factor." "We've been to a lot of places and each time it's a new story - each family is so deserving. There are going to be hundreds from the community helping out.

"That says it all."

Even in crisis times of their own, neighbors from Fernley showed up Saturday to see what they could do.

"Our home was in the (flood) zone," said Kathy Secrist, who was onhand Saturday with her daughter Elissa, 9, to see if she could volunteer for the show. "We have six inches of mud in our garage still - but, after reading about this family and seeing all the people gathered here, you want to be a part of it.

"You want to help out, you know?"

Lou Borrego, CEO of West Haven Development Group, the builder that will supervise the reconstruction of the Boettcher home, said he was "just happy to be a part (of the show)."

"We're a 3-year-old company," he said. "So for us, this is just something that we couldn't turn down.

"They 'had us at hello' I guess you could say."

Demolition of the existing structures will take place pre-dawn today and then the builders move in.

"It's going to be 24-7 and no sleep," Borrego said. "But, we've met with the cast - and Ty - and they're the experts. So calm, so down to earth. We had a snowball fight yesterday and got to eat lunch with them.

"They're ready to go - and so are we."

While volunteers during the week need to be 18 years old to participate, Saturday's setup and moving crew was slightly younger.

"I came here to help get things going," said David Ruiz, 7.

David, clad in his SYFL (a youth football league) jersey and some of his contemporaries ages five to eight, were allowed on the "set" Saturday to build the catering tent and help get things moving.

"Lou gave us the call to come out and be a part of this," said Tony Hutcherson, coach of David's team, the Reno Husky Bandits. "It's just great to be out here - to see the early stages of how this is going to come together.

"And we'll be here Friday when the family comes home to wish them well - for sure."

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at apridgen@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

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