Facebook Twitter

Dream project by LDS youths stuns family

SHARE Dream project by LDS youths stuns family

For a multimedia presentation of this story, click here.NORTH OGDEN — At the call "Move that bus," the motor home rolled out of the way to reveal what looked like a brand-new home on 1700 North in North Ogden.Hours-old sod in the front and back, a new trampoline, new wallpaper, new paint, new floors, new carpet, new furniture, new cabinets, new beds and new housewares transformed a 1940s-era prefabricated house into what now looks like a new home.Talking about it later, Earl McKinley, who lives in the home with his wife and three grandchildren, was overcome."You sure know how to bring tears to an old man's eyes," he said.It sounds exactly like the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." This was an extreme makeover, just not the name brand. It was the first-ever Mountain Ward Makeover.This summer, many of the youths in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will take trips with their respective wards to bond and learn from one another and their church leaders at youth conferences.The 40 or so youths of the Mountain Ward in North Ogden's Coldwater Stake were content to stay right at home and sleep in their own beds.But they rolled out of those beds before 7 a.m. every day for the past week to make over the 63-year-old McKinley home in their neighborhood.The youths, ages 12 to 18, spent the past two months learning construction trades, such as pouring concrete, setting stone veneer and installing vinyl siding, as well as power tool safety and some demolition, to fix up Earl and Lynda McKinley's home.The home was built in South Ogden in 1945 by the U.S. Department of Defense and moved to North Ogden shortly after. The McKinleys added a second story and carport to the home but had never managed to finish it.It had been known as the "half-blue house" for its sky blue wooden siding that only covered the exterior of the first floor.The upper floor was covered in bare plywood, the driveway had sunk, and water damage had rotted away the subfloor in the kitchen.Brian Glass, one of three grandchildren who live in the home with the McKinleys, had one word for it: "crappy.""It was falling apart," Glass says.Both of Glass' grandparents work full time — Earl at night and Lynda during the day — but they hadn't had the time or the resources to fix up the house.Once the youths learned of the church's theme for its youth programs — "Be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works" — the youths decided they wanted to do a construction project.Reed Mackley, the Ty Pennington of the project, persuaded the McKinleys to let the youths learn some construction skills while working on their house.So the McKinleys and their grandchildren moved out for a week while the Mountain Ward makeover team rolled in, sometimes with volunteers working until 3:30 a.m. as another crew picked up where they left off.Wednesday, the teens textured the ceiling, mounted vinyl siding, rock veneer, and prepped exterior walls for stucco.The carport, which has been turned into a garage, received added supports, and the kitchen, which will be tiled this week, was prepped for new kitchen cabinets.More than 80 businesses donated food for the workers and supplies and expertise for the home.The money that would have been spent by the Mountain Ward for a youth trip — about $5,000 — has gone toward the makeover. But it would be nearly impossible to put a price tag on what has been donated, said Mountain Ward Bishop Nader Mikhail.Friday, an anonymous donor provided enough money to finish the entire house, bringing the total value of goods, services and donated labor to about $200,000, said Jennie Taylor, a spokeswoman from the Mountain Ward.Now, instead of finishing just the kitchen, living room and garage, the group fixed up four bedrooms, a laundry room, the halls and stairs. Enough money was also provided to put in a new stove, all new furniture, an automatic sprinkler system and a variety of housewares, Taylor said."The youth initially stepped in, and now the community has stepped it up," Taylor said in an e-mail.London Clarke, 18, is one of the youth leaders who helped organize the project. She and the other teens raised money for the project."I've never seen a house built," Clarke said, adding that the whole project has been fascinating.For Mack Huntsman, 14, what's fun is seeing what the home was before and seeing how far it's come. "We're changing their lives," he said.For Earl and Lynda McKinley, it's a dream come true. "I don't know if I ever want to go to work again," Lynda said.Earl said he's proud of the kitchen since he loves to cook, and he promised to make a big bowl of potato salad for the youths."I love you all," he said.