Stagecoach preacher's mother says her son has wanted to help the underprivileged since he was little
By Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
STAGECOACH - Johnny Littlefield learned a new word this week while he helped design a new home for the Boettcher family as part of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" TV show.
"It means bitter, bitter cold," he laughed.
A star on the show, Littlefield thought when he was told he was going to a desert that he'd have nice weather.
"It's like the dark side of the moon," he said of the cold and biting wind in Stagecoach on Tuesday afternoon. "But it's spectacular to look at."
The cast and crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" showed up at the Apache Drive home of Steve and Mary Boettcher on Friday and proceeded to tear down their mobile home and begin building a brand new home for the family.
In addition to Steve, 51, and Mary, 48, daughter Stephanie, 20, lives at the house with her 18-month-old son, Joshua, who has a respiratory illness, uses a trachea tube and requires constant care.
Littlefield is designing baby Joshua's room and "Josh likes frogs" is all he will say about it.
"I prefer kids' rooms," he said. "I seem to have a flair and a knack for it."
He called the Boettcher's commitment to their community "phenomenal."
"They're a great family and great families make great communities and great communities make great states," he said.
The Boettchers run a youth ministry called Soul'd Out Ministries, whose Wednesday and Thursday evening events draw more than 30 area youth each week.
"What the Boettcher family does for the kids in the community is stellar," he said.
Littlefield said he only learned about the family on the bus ride to Stagecoach. When he saw the 700-square-foot mobile home they lived in along with the 700-square-foot garage they used for their youth events, he thought, "We couldn't have come at a better time."
He said the only thing that has hampered work so far has been the weather, and even that was not too much, he said, when you think about the family's contributions.
"Look at the remarkable things they did with little or no resources," he said. "Look at all the resources we have, so what's a little cold?"
Littlefield said he could design a room as soon as he knows the project he's working on.
"We do rooms in about a day and a half," he said. "That's because we have incredible crews."
The show has two teams of 60 people and travels like a circus, he said.
"The circus is in town and we're under the big top," he said, adding that he is on the road about 200 days a year, sleeping more in hotel rooms than in his own home.
"This is the hardest job I ever loved."
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" does about 25 homes in 10 months, and the Boettcher home is expected to be done by 2 p.m. Friday. He said they hope to have 20,000 people in Stagecoach to welcome the family home.
Two people who will surely be there said they are amazed at the whole thing.
Gene and Bev Boettcher are gratified as they watch the trusses go up on their son and daughter-in-law's new home.
"It's so fantastic," she said. "And I believe the kids are well-deserving of it."
She said 35-40 teens congregate at the property each Wednesday for activities such as games, snacks and Bible teachings. On Thursday, preteens are at the garage.
Beverly Boettcher said Steve and Mary pay for the kids' snacks out of their own pockets.
"Ever since he was a little guy, he always helped the underprivileged," she said.
She said she found out for sure Friday, but added there were rumblings around town.
"A small community can't keep things quiet," she said.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-7351.
You can help
• To contribute to the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" benefiting the Boettcher family, go to any Northern Nevada Wells Fargo and ask to donate to the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" account No. 3393936103. Checks should be made payable to West Haven Development Group, and all funds go directly toward the Boettcher home project. Any remaining funds will be used for the Boettcher family benefit after construction is complete.
• For information on volunteering during the "Extreme Build," now through Friday, contact Cynthia Osborn, West Haven Development, at 850-7999.
• For information on the "Extreme Build," log on to www.NevadaExtremeHome.com or call 850-7999. For details on West Haven Development Group, visit www.WestHavenDG.com.