Simmons Homes, ‘Makeover’ Surprise N.O. Families

HEADING SOUTH: Simmons Homes’ employees traveled to New Orleans to join ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in its season finale to help families devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Photos courtesy of Waller & Co. PR

Employees and volunteers with Tulsa-area home builder Simmons Homes joined Ty Pennington and the crew of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” to participate in the one-week process of building Pastor Willie Walker and his community a new church.

“We came together from all over the nation to restore hope,” says Greg Simmons, owner of Simmons Homes. “We had a mission there to not only rebuild structures, but rebuild the lives of families in need.”

Pastor Willie Walker
In 1998, Walker came to Noah’s Ark Missionary Baptist Church in New Orleans.

Walker dedicated his life to helping people who were in most need: addicts, AIDS patients, the homeless and the poor. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Walker found his church totally destroyed by the wind and floodwaters.

Faced with the reality that his church was gone, Walker never wavered but continually risked his life by going back to the devastation to help rescue hundreds of people and save countless lives. After two years, Walker continues to work tirelessly to help the victims of Katrina but has not been able to rebuild his beloved church.

Now, Simmons Homes and the extreme builder coalition has rebuilt the church and provided not just a place of worship for Walker’s congregation but a refuge for the entire community. Teams of volunteers worked around the clock to build the church.
In addition to Walker’s church, builders with the “Extreme Team” built new homes for a family who lost everything during Hurricane Katrina.

The Usea Family of Westwego
Thanks to the generosity of the ‘Extreme Team’ and builders from across the nation, the Usea family has been provided a safe haven in a new hurricane-resistant home. Brad and Laura Usea’s home was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina. Even worse, Brad’s mother Grace’s home was completely destroyed leaving her, Brad’s older brother Chris, and Brad’s twin brother Chad all homeless. Brad and Laura took in their family without hesitation.

In February of 2007, tornados struck Westwego in the middle of the night causing more devastation to Brad and Laura’s already battered home and destroying the trailer in the backyard where Chris had been living since Katrina. That night, Brad and Chad, both volunteer firefighters, came to the rescue of not just their family but their neighbors, who were trapped in their own trailer. Local heroes to many, Brad and Chad continue to work to rebuild their community that has been devastated by natural disasters while living on top of each other in a single family home.

On the same lot where their current home still stands today, a team of builders has built not just one but three bigger and stronger homes for the entire Usea family.

This episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is the season finale and will air on Sunday May 18 as a two-hour show.
About ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

The design team for this episode will feature team leader Ty Pennington and designers Michael Moloney, Paul DiMeo, Tracy Hutson, Paige Hemmis, Eduardo Xol and Ed Sanders. The series is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding.

About Simmons Homes Simmons Homes was founded by Greg Simmons in 1994. Today, it is the Tulsa area’s premier home builder with a reputation for providing architectural innovation, tremendous quality, superior customer service and unmatched warranties. For more information, visit

Updated 04-25-2008

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