Extreme Home Makeover • Fun Raising Fundraiser
Story and photos by Christina Santee
Community gathers at Town Park for concert, silent auction and neighborly fellowship.
Excited Madisonians and Morgan County folk piled into Madison’s Town Square Friday evening for another contributing event in support of Madison’s own Anaiah Rucker — local hero and recipient of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” expense-free house and Disney vacation.
Proceeds gathered from the benefit concert went toward the Anaiah Rucker Building Fund and Special Needs Trust.
Musician Eric Dodd dazzled fans before the popular band, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, took the stage before a starstruck crowd of 2,500.
“Extreme Makeover’s” Ty Pennington, Paige Hemmis and Micheal Moloney shared a few words as raindrops began falling.
“We are truly touched by how all of you have come out — rain or shine,” Hemmis said to the audience.
The crew made a point in thanking all who had pitched in, no matter how big or small the contribution.
“I just want to say thank you to the entire community,” Moloney said. “This has been an amazing week. This family has been through a lot and you guys have wrapped your arms and your hearts and souls around them and for that, we thank you for them.”
As the live music entertained most, a silent auction also seized the attention of select attendees, where goods from local vendors and pieces from the build were made available to the highest bidder.
A two-night stay at Harbor Club, a one-night stay at the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee, an Eric Dodd record, four University of Georgia 2011 season football tickets and a one-night stay getaway at the James Madison Inn were a few of the offered prizes. Water skis from Boats w/Gusto, an autographed Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ poster and the blueprints from the Rucker family build were also in the running.
Bottle cap necklaces that were designed and pieced together by The Boys and Girls Club were sold, ultimately raking in an astounding $3,428.65 profit to be donated toward the Anaiah Rucker Foundation. “Extreme Makeover” T-shirts sold by United Bank, too, brought in a applaudable bundle. Ella’s Sweet Shoppe in Madison will continue to offer the bottle cap necklaces for the duration of this week.
“We said at the pep rally that it was going to take all of us working together and while the attitudes and people have just been fantastic,” said Brenton Metzler, producer of Extreme Makeover. “I hope all of you had the chance to go out [to the build site] and see what it’s about because, man, it’s wonderful. We hope this is a great thing for Anaiah and her family, but also [for] the city of Madison. Thank you so much for supporting us.”
For the city of Madison and neighboring residents, many took pride in helping one of their own, especially one who had sacrificed so much for the well-being of her sibling. Most were sure to attend every fundraiser and benefit event. People simply wanted to assist the project in any way they could, without hesitation or uncertainty.
“I think this says that we come together when we really need to,” said Sonya Hope, a Madison resident and supporter of her home town. “Music has always been one of those things that brings people together, so a great cause like helping to raise funds to support this family and music — it’s a perfect combination.”
by the numbers
area restaurants donated free meals at least twice a day to extreme home makeover volunteers.
of free classes offered from athens tech to andrea taylor, anaiah’s mother, to
finish nursing school.
contribution to the anaiah rucker building fund and special needs trust from dwight howard, center for the orlando magic
scholarship given to anaiah for a four-year education at berry college in rome, ga.
Printed in the July 21, 2011 edition