Dear Brown Family,
I hope this letter finds you nice and relaxed and hopefully all alone finally – or with close friends and family – and not around a bunch of cameras and builders bugging you non stop I have a few things I wanted to pass on about this past week in West Texas.
It seems like just yesterday and somehow it seems like six months ago that we first met you when we surprised you at Seagraves High School with the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team rolling up on you in the Extreme bus. We showed up during one of your presentations you give to teens about the dangers of Texting and Driving. As we now know, eleven teens die every day in America from distracted driving and tragically, your daughter Alex was one of them a year ago. Over the following seven days, a series of miraculous events took place and I just wanted to recapture the experience for you as best I can.
Day By Day Summary
Now I’d like to walk you through a day by day summary of what happened. There is NO way to capture the energy and the spirit of everything we all experienced but I feel compelled to try my best because it was such an amazing experience for all that were there in Wellman, whether for one volunteer shift or for the entire week. We announced by Press Release to the West Texas Community on Oct 27th. We announced the Pep Rally Details on Nov 2nd. We asked people to help with Changing Lives on Nov 5th. We were first blown away by What a response from West Texas on Nov 15th. Then when things got really fun and exciting…..
Day 1 – November 16th – Congrats Brown Family
As you know we surprised you at Seagraves High School during your presentation to roughly 600 high school students about the dangers of texting and driving. What you didn’t know is that we had pre-arranged for all the students to surprise you with a stadium size banner letting you know you had been selected to receive a home from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Palm Harbor Homes. While the event was overshadowed by all the cameras and celebrities, the message about the tragedy of Alex’ death was not lost on any of us. See pictures. And as if this day wasn’t already special enough to all of us, it was also my birthday.
Day 2 – November 17th – Out With The Old
As you know from watching the show, typically we demolish the existing home but this week was different in every way, it was all about giving. Rather than demolish your previous home, we donated it to Habitat For Humanity. We know you wanted to preserve Alex’ bedroom and now some other really lucky family will be in a new home hopefully before the holiday season ends. After we pulled your existing home out, we immediately started working on the foundation for the new home. We sent out an email update to all your friends in West Texas and Colleen and I did one of our soon to become infamous videos. See pictures also.
Day 3 – November 18th – In With The New
Day three is when the new home showed up. We say “showed up” because it was already built. As you now know, your home is a factory built modular home so the home was fully constructed to local code in our building facility in Fort Worth, TX and shipped to your location to be set by crane once the foundation was ready. We built three modules for the home and two more modules for the garage/office. This was also the day we started getting some real traction with our fundraising and our campaign to have people sign the pledge to not text and drive. It was the day where we started seeing a house and a movement materialize before our very eyes. See pics and video where we all started really wondering about Colleen.
Day 4 – November 19th – Hardcore Construction Day
Day four was simply hard work day. Not that every day didn’t involve major effort but it was the day all hands were needed on deck finishing the house on the inside and outside as well as prepping the grounds for landscaping. If there was a day I worried about our team and/or the volunteers, it was day four. My worries turned out to be for naught. No one flinched. No one slowed down. No one skipped a beat. You can tell by the pictures from day four, it was simply a hard working day and it was also the day we got back on schedule from the previous wind and frigid temperatures slowed us down on day two. Day four is the day we were most grateful for all the people involved. It was a great day.
Day 5 – November 20th – We Have A House
Day five is when the house was finished. Not the HOME, the HOUSE. The structure. The modules. There was a structure in place and fully set and finished out from a construction standpoint. It would be become a HOME over the next couple of days but day five was the completion of the house. It was also the day the spectator area started filling up as well as the fundraising buckets. Since it was Saturday, we set up a tailgate party with five TVs of all the college football games for all the football enthusiasts. The most people I ever heard being gathered there was three. It’s just one of those kinda gigs, no one cared about anything but doing their thing to finish your home and raise all the money possible for the RAB fund. You can tell by the pictures that it was another day of amazing people doing amazing things in an amazingly short period of time. We sent out a newsletter update and did a quick video but then got right back to work. Today is when the banner started getting real full.
Day 6 – November 21st – We Hear the Browns are in Town
Day six was awesome!!! The House became a Home and we got a chance to say hello to you at the little mini rally we had at the school Sunday evening. We announced a public event at the school early that day and by the time the doors opened, there were over 900 people lined up to get into the school. All signed the pledge, got their thumb ring and heard the news that 50 schools in 50 states also took the pledge. We also heard the news about the RAB fund goal of $25,000 as well as some news about your trip. We have some choppy video of the event as we were attempting to report everything on live streaming video. The signal strength in the area wasn’t great but we tried anyway but we also have some good pictures.
Day 7 – November 22nd – Move That Bus
Day seven doesn’t require much of an update although it is by far everyone’s favorite day. But hey, you were there It was simply an awesome day, beautiful weather, gigantic crowd and full of emotion. But also a day where it all came together beautifully. We had a great day of fundraising – see video and a great day of pictures.
We are so excited about you now being a member of the Palm Harbor Homes family. It’s hard to express how we feel about you, your extended family and your amazing community. West Texas is an amazing place filled with great people and they all feel the same about you that we do – that you are an amazing family committed to saving lives in remembrance of Alex and we plan to be with you every step of the way as you continue to tell her story and educate teens and adults about the dangers of texting and driving.
We will continue raising money for the Remember Alex Brown fund thru the Donate button at www.extremephn.com and we encourage everyone to visit your new website called http://www.rememberalexbrownfoundation.org and to join the Facebook Groups called:
And a special thanks to our sponsors.
And as Ty says, Welcome Home Brown family, welcome home. See you soon.