A news article in a recent issue of the Indianpolis Star, a newspaper I used to read every day as a college student in Indiana a long time ago, reminded me of something I've been meaning to do for a long time, but always put off because I was too busy — or maybe I just I made myself too busy. I've been meaning to contact the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and volunteer my skills as a volunteer home builder, as meager as they may be. Now that I've committed it to paper, I know my chances of following through are much greater.
The article in question? It referred to a recent "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" project near Indianapolis, and the generousity of volunteers, including Ken and Larry Barthuly and some of the other folks of Barthuly Irrigation, Carmel, IN, who donated time and product to the project:
Here's what the Star reported:
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" -- a reality TV show that builds a house in a week for a deserving family -- has built a 2,750-square-foot home on Indianapolis' Near Eastside. It is for Bernard McFarland, a computer specialist at Indianapolis Public Schools' Marshall High School. He and his three sons will return today, after the show sent them on a Paris vacation while the work was being done.
The McFarland makeover includes a 975-square-foot community resource center on the adjacent property.
The center is a surprise for McFarland, a mentor for children in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood, where volunteers also improved dozens of homes in the area of 25th Street and Keystone Avenue.
Zionsville's Barthuly Irrigation, which specializes in residential and commercial irrigation and landscape lighting, is among more than 180 area companies and organizations -- and thousands of volunteers -- that have donated time and goods to the "Extreme Makeover" project.
Ken Barthuly, 39, and his brother Larry, 45, both Carmel, started the business 18 years ago. Barthuly Irrigation works closely with Carmel-based home builder Estridge, the TV show's local building partner.
"I heard about it on the radio and was about a minute away from making a call for us to be a part of it, and then found out they (Estridge) already called us," Ken Barthuly said.
Ken and Larry Barthuly; their father Roland, Carmel; and the company's production manager Brett Berry, Westfield, installed landscape lighting around the house, through the courtyard and around trees.
Ken Barthuly describes himself and his wife as reality show freaks who love being involved with a television program, but he said his involvement came about mostly because he wanted to give back to the community.
"It's a sense of paying it forward, and what better place for it to happen than in Indiana -- the heartland of red, white and blue," he said.
His company also contributes to about 20 other charities throughout the state and country.
Barthuly said it's great to see how many volunteers, businesses and organizations have come together. He called the house and outpouring of community support the McFarlands have received pretty impressive.
"The community is in need of some cleanup and it's nice to see the kids and adults watching the process because it's Hollywood in their front yards," he said. "This is something they'll (the community will) cherish for the rest of their lives." — Ron Hall