WELLMAN, TX (KCBD) - The West Texas wind didn't stop crews in Wellman on Wednesday as they begin building a new home for the Brown family. Johnnie Mac and Jeanne Brown's daughter Alex was killed in a car accident on November 10, 2009 because of texting and driving. The family in the past year has made it their goal to make sure that everyone joins the B.U.S.T. campaign; Buckle Up and Stop Texting.
"I walked around the house and read the things people have written and said about Alex and she obviously was an incredibly lady," said Leigh Anne Tuohy, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Designer.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition selected the Browns to receive a new home. Volunteers have worked around the clock since the Brown's got into a limo headed for New York for a family vacation courtesy of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
"We worked all night, none of us have slept," said Maury Kennedy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Palm Harbor Homes.
The volunteers are working in 12-hour shifts to get the Brown's trailer house ready to be sent to Habitat for Humanity. Even through the 40 to 45 mile per hour winds, the volunteers and the crews didn't stop. Ty Pennington handed the keys to the trailer house to the non-profit so they can give the gift of a home to someone else; something the Brown family wanted.
Friends, family and the stars of the hit show wished the Brown's old home goodbye while keeping the memories of Alex Brown close. "They deserve it a lot. They've worked with this B.U.S.T. deal trying to get the entire state of Texas to get the message out, they deserve it," said Brad Estenson, volunteer and friend of Alex Brown.
Over 1,600 volunteers signed up to be a part of building the Brown's new home, that makes the population of Wellman five times larger than usual. These volunteers all want to send the message the family started one year ago, in memory of their loss, to Buckle Up and Stop Texting.
"[Alex] was going change the world or die trying. Apparently she's had it backwards because she died and now she's changing the world because of it," said Michael Moloney, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Designer.
Palm Harbor Homes, the volunteer builder for the show, says building them a place to live is one thing, but helping support the Brown's mission means more. "Eleven kids die every day in America while texting and driving. So the overall involvement was a quick decision for us," said Kennedy.
The Brown's tragedy has turned into a journey to share their daughter's story and tell others to "B.U.S.T.", a campaign that has touched many lives, including the stars of the show.
"I text and drive and I'm as guilty as the next, but I won't do it any longer. So if nothing else, my life has changed because of this," said Tuohy.
Friends and family are compelled to help the family who has been through so much. "It's emotional. It's going to be a good week. They deserve it a lot," said Tate Longoria, volunteer and friend of Alex Brown.
While the family continues their vacation in the Big Apple, workers will build for five days, 24-7. "It feels good to do something for them because they used Alex's death to get a message out to younger people," said Longoria.
Volunteers will continue to work around the clock to lay the foundation for the house that is expected to arrive on Thursday.
Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.