Volunteers Help Build Extreme Makeover Home in Bastrop
On Wednesday, a volunteer firefighter whose house was destroyed by the Labor Day weekend wildfires can return to Bastrop County and a brand new home.
Hundreds of volunteers are in Smithville this weekend building a new home with the ABC reality show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Stan Pipkin owns a solar company in Austin. His team is building a solar carport that will help power 60 percent of the new home.
“Everybody’s got good spirits. We had a lot of guys helping us the last time we were here pitching in,” Pipkin said. “It’s really a volunteer effort, not just for the family but even amongst ourselves.”
Mizzy Zdroj is one of twenty volunteer firefighters at the Heart of Pines Volunteer Fire Department who lost their homes. She has two boys and a husband. After the fire, Zdroj painted a colorful mural on the side of a tiny storage shed where her home used to be. That’s where her family was going to live for the winter.
“That shed that she painted the mural on is actually an inspiration for a project in her bedroom,” said project interior designer, Tracey Hutson. The mural looks like a picture of a night sky hanging above the beloved Loblolly Pines of Bastrop.
Hutson, who was born in Austin but lives in Dallas now, said she’s grateful to work on a project so close to home.
“Just standing here surrounded by all of these burnt trees — you just know how beautiful this place was,” Huston said.
The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team is also remodeling the volunteer fire department station, which is adjacent to the Zdroj family’s home, adding insulation to the small building and making improvements to the garage for the fire trucks .
Volunteer Madelone Hillegeist said the one downfall of the project is the shuttle ride to the site. You drive past several burnt homes with only slabs or parts of chimneys left.
“You wonder how the neighbors will react to just one family out of all that were affected getting all this,” she said.
On a positive note, Hillegeist added that maybe the project will bring more attention to Bastrop and more help for others.
Organizers say they still need more professional framers and drywall hangers to finish building the house for the Zdroj family. Click here to find out more.