PIONEER GOES PRIMETIME January 23, 2011 with the Girl Scouts
December 2, 2010 was a memorable day for André as he arrived on the set for Pioneer’s second appearance on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. This was an extremely special build for Pioneer, as it would not only change the life of one incredible woman and her family, but would ultimately change the lives of thousands of young Girl Scouts too.
How it Began
It was November 19, 2010 and André (who was only back a matter of weeks from the Lampe family Makeover in Louisville, Kentucky) and his wife Wendy were in route to Vancouver for the BC Export Awards Ceremony, when his phone rang. It was Kim from the Extreme Team and she asked about Pioneer participating in a small cabin and proceeded to tell André the story of this incredible woman called Earnie.
Earnie Graham is one of those amazing single moms who has managed to not only provide and take care of her own family but gives to those around her as well. Earnie, is a volunteer Camp Coordinator at Camp Tanglewood, a Girl Scout camp located approximately 6 miles from where she lives in Augusta, Georgia. Earnie was so impressed with what the Girl Scouts did for her daughter, Tiffany (now 22,) that she decided to become more involved. Earnie works full time, attends college where she is working towards her Batchelor of Science degree and still she finds the time to chaperone the Girl Scouts.
They explained to André that the cabin would have to sleep 8-10 girls and would need to have a handicapped accessible bathroom and shower. The big problem though was It would also have to be delivered to Augusta, Georgia by December 3, 2010. André explained there was no time to construct a new cabin which under normal circumstances would take approximately 45-60 days. After a few more discussions and brain storming ….. André told the Extreme team that he might have a solution.
As luck would have it Pioneer had a completed log cabin sitting in our 153 Mile yard that had been built by Bryan Reid Jr., that wasn’t to be delivered until June of 2011 to our client on Vancouver Island. It would be a perfect solution and the perfect cabin for the Girl Scouts. André made a call to the owner and asked if it would be possible to send their cabin to Augusta, Georgia and Pioneer would build them a new one for their June delivery. The client quickly gave his blessing!!
André called Kim and the Extreme Team with the good news, but time was of the essence. Roy Keats, Pioneers Design Manager, had to work quickly to modify the existing plans for new plans that would now work for the Camp Tanglewood project.
The Extreme Team was really excited with Roy’s proposed plans, and immediately the race was on to do the alterations to the cabin and get it ready. We still needed to arrange for windows and doors, and contact the trucking company too…….loading day was Saturday November 27th, now only a couple of days away.
André contacted Mike Heath from MasterCraft Windows and Doors in Kamloops, and they quickly jumped on board. Within days they magically produced the units required and had them ready to ship along with the cabin. Amazing!! A great big THANK YOU to Mike and his team at MasterCraft for their commitment and dedication to get the windows and doors to Williams Lake in time for shipping…..what a big job to complete in such short notice.
Pioneer’s team of Joel Roorda, Sam Peterson, James Kilborn, Tom Gebauer, Sean Oviatt and Matthew Klassen worked long hours to get the log work ready and to reconstruct the doorway to make it wheelchair accessible. They also had to reconfigure the loft, build a log ladder and prepare the bathroom wall slots…….the Pioneer team pulled together once again to get this done…..there was literally no time to spare!! The crew really went over and above the call of duty and we owe them a big round of applause for a job well done….. Thanks guys. Special thanks to Sam for the beautiful Pioneer Logo caving next to the front door, and to James Kilborn for preparing the building and giving it the final touches needed for shipping, and to Joel and the rest of the crew for working through their weekend to make sure everything was ready to go, and the cabin was loaded on the truck.
Pioneer’s Todd Godin arranged the trucking through Motrux out of Vancouver. Motrux, doubled up their drivers to make sure they delivered the logs on time. Special thanks to drivers and brothers Manjit and Satwinder for their dedication……the load arrived on time on December 3, 2010 at precisely 9am.
André arrived in Augusta, Georgia late in the evening of December 2nd, eager to get started the next morning.
Day 1-December 3rd 2010
André met Tim and Donny from the Extreme Team at 7:00am and headed to the job site at Camp Tanglewood. Some of the driveway fence at the front had to be dismantled to get things ready for the trucks arrival at 9:00am. André and Eric from Erycson Construction positioned the crane and got it backed in to the building site. Tim had the foundation all ready to go and things were all set for the day to run smoothly.
At 9:00am sharp the Motrux drivers pulled in and André and Donny quickly helped get the truck into position….a half an hour later, once the tarps were removed André and the crew started swinging logs. The first round was secured to the foundation, which Tim and his crew of volunteers had done a beautiful job constructing. At around 11:30 am Tim received a call from Brady and Anne the producers for the show…..the show celebrities wanted to assist André in erecting the log cabin but due to the filming the house build for Earnie, 6 miles away they would be a couple of hours before they could arrive. Everything worked like clockwork as André and the Extreme volunteers did not waste any time while they waited for the celebrity
designers. They cleaned the logs, organized tools and prepared the next day’s scope of work. Celebrity designers Ty Pennington, Ed Sanders, Paige Hemmis and Michael Maloney arrived at the cabin set at 2:00pm for filming and subsequent reassembly. Brody and Anne hooked André up with a microphone and explained some of the questions that would be asked. It was then that André learned how the Girl Scouts had lost the cabins to fire. Ironically the logs to build the “New” Cabin by Pioneer had been harvested from a devastating forest fire 130 years ago in southern British Columbia and were the topic of questions from Ty and the crew on camera. For the next 1 ½ hours, Ty, Michael, Ed and Paige helped Andé reassemble the cabin. A lot of the lifts had to be staged for the camera, as well as questions from the Extreme designers to André. At 4:30pm the film crew packed up and finished up the interviews with André…..day one was a wrap. But the day was not over yet… André and the volunteers finally finished setting the logs at around 8:00pm, and André continued with the 2x12 dimension rafters, finishing around 1:00am…..an 18 hour shift, it was a long day.
Day 2-December 4th 2010
All day André worked on cutting wall slots, framing gables and framing the bathroom…..17 hours another long day.
Day 3-December 5th 2010
Mark Macey from MasterCraft Cabinets met up with André and the Extreme Team in the lounge of the hotel and headed for the job site. The 16 hour day was spent installing windows, pad sanding, prepping the logs for stain and sheeting the gable ends…….
Day 4-December 6th 2010
Arrived at the job site at the usual 7:00am. Today was D-day…tomorrow would be the reveal. André and Mark did whatever was necessary to make things happen. The volunteers were phenomenal, everyone worked their hearts out. During the whole build everyone ate lunch as they worked, dinners were simple and most of the time you didn’t even stop to sit down. André framed and put the plywood on the upstairs loft and prepared the interior logs for spray finish. At
midnight he installed the log ladder to the loft and around 2:00am (Reveal Day) started the railing for the upstairs loft. At 6:30am 23 ½ hours after arriving the previous morning Mark and André headed back to the hotel for a shower.
Day 5-December 7th 2010 REVEAL DAY
No rest for the weary….it was back at her and at 8:30am the outside of the cabin was being landscaped. At 11:00am Veronica and the Extreme Makeover designers approached André about building six half log benches from an old pine tree that had been cut down to place the cabin. The reveal was scheduled for 1:00pm so André literally had only two hours to get it done. He put coveralls over his good clothes and got to work. He had three burley big Georgian guys helping him move the logs around while he was doing the cutting.
While André worked on…. People, (there must have been a thousand) began to arrive for the chance to see ``THE REVEAL``. Hundreds of Girl Scout moms were helping everywhere…..the atmosphere was alive and buzzing with excitement. They all watched on as Pioneer`s Master craftsman notched the benches out of the ``Old Pine Tree``. A lot of folks hadn`t seen someone use a chainsaw the way André did and were eager to meet and get their picture taken with the ``Canadian Log Home Builder``. Mom’s and volunteers started to paint the benches in bright colours that would be fitting for the girls.
Just before 1:00pm hundreds and hundreds of young Girl Scouts began to arrive. A lot of the individual troops wanted their pictures taken with André; it was an experience that he found very humbling and gratifying.
1:30pm the REVEAL began, camera crews and the Extreme Makeover Designers began to set up and at 2:00pm Earnie Graham and her family arrived.
André described ``The Reveal`` as an electric and unbelievable experience. He signed hundreds of little Girl Scouts vests and received a box of beautiful handmade cards from the little troops. He was also introduced to some of the young Girl Scouts in wheel chairs. Every new introduction had moms and tears and little girls in tears as they thanked André, the man they called ``Mr. Pioneer``.
It was 5:30pm when André and Mark headed back to the hotel for some dinner and some much needed sleep….that shift was 33 ½ hours, a really long day to say the least.
As André said goodbye to the Extreme Makeover group of designers, they were just presenting Earnie Graham with a brand new Ford SUV, loaded with kayaks, camping gear, sleeping bags and stuff to make the little Girl Scouts stay at Camp Tanglewood a great experience…..As he hollered his goodbyes the designers and film crew stopped their production to show their appreciation to Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia. Many of the moms and little girls were crying as André and Mark jumped in with Tim and Donny for the last ride back to the hotel.
André would like to thank all the volunteers for the ``Log Cabin Build``, there are just too many names to list. He truly appreciated all the kidding back and forth about the Georgians vs. Canucks. A very special thanks to Tim and Donny for taking such good care of him while in Augusta, and a special thanks to Brady, Anne, Veronica, Tracy, Paige, Ty, Ed and Michael for the great experience. He would especially like to thank all the little Girl Scouts and the hundreds of moms who he had the honour to meet. Two little girls that really touched his heart were André and Miracle who presented André with all those beautiful thank you cards. These kids are what made the whole experience such an overwhelming experience.