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Area business helps give 'Extreme Home Makeover'

Garrett Grommesh, 9, gets a laugh from family members, parents Adair and Bill and his sister Peighton, and Tyrone Leslie and Daryl Braham of Heritage Homes while telling the local media about the upcoming family vacation in the Bahamas while their home is rebuilt for ABC's Extreme Home Makeover: Home Edition. Photo by David Samson/FORUM

After the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" media frenzy quieted down at the site of the old (soon to be new) Moorhead home of Bill and Adair Grommesh, the real work began. And one area business is among the construction companies working to complete their new house by the end of the week.

Erik Gaudette, owner of Keystone Masonry in Otter Tail, and his staff began masonry work on both the new and old house almost as soon as the news cameras stopped rolling on Sunday.

All of the construction work will be completed in about four days, Gaudette said. The masonry work on the new house will be completed October 7, he said.

Each episode of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," features a family that has faced hardship and is built a new home in a week with the help of volunteers such as Gaudette.

The Grommesh family was surprised on Sunday when it was announced it would be the recipient of a new handicap-accessible home. The Grommeshes have a 10-year-old son, Garrett, who was born with spina bifida; and 11-year-old daughter, Peighton, who has a pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Axenfeld-Reiger's syndrome. The house, at 803 22nd Ave. S., is being built as the Grommeshes vacation in the Bahamas.

While the family gets their tan on, back in Moorhead, their old house was removed from its foundation and moved to a new location, where it will be fixed up and given to Habitat for Humanity, Gaudette said.

As for the new site, Gaudette and his crew will be putting new stone on the front of the house and fireplace.

About two months ago, Gaudette was asked to work on the project by Heritage Homes, a company he's partnered with for the past four-and-a-half years. And this wasn't the first time he's been asked to work on an "Extreme Makeover" home.

"Heritage worked on one of the 'Extreme Makeover' homes in Louisiana," he said. "But we were so busy, the time wasn't right. I said any time in the future, I'd be glad to help. Luckily, they picked one in Fargo."

Which is a great thing, Gaudette says.

"It's incredible how many people are working there," he said. "It's incredible how many people are working on this."

He pointed out that coming together for a good cause is nothing new to the Fargo-Moorhead area.

"The community up there is so different," Gaudette said. "They've been helping each other sandbag for so many years now. It's first nature there for people to help other people out. It was overwhelming for me, talking to other people there. They are so giving and don't expect anything out of it."

There are crews of people handing out food for the site construction workers, Gaudette said, about every two hours.

The Keystone crew has an eight-hour window October 7 to complete the masonry work, he said, which he expects will take four to six hours. The strict time limits are more of an exciting challenge, Gaudette said, one that takes its toll physically, but is worth it in the long run.

"I just talked to the project manager, who had been up for about 27 hours. And none of us make any money on this. It's all donation. But I think what we're making is worth more. It's for a great cause, a very deserving family."