First Posted: 11/23/2009
Employees of United Plastics Corp. in Mount Airy dont normally work in front of television cameras, but they did just that for an upcoming episode of ABCs Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Ten people from the company on Hay Street journeyed to Lexington on Nov. 13 to assist with building a house for a deserving family to be featured in a February segment of the reality TV show.
A group from United Plastics also returned to Lexington last Tuesday when the William and Tricia Creasey family came back to their old neighborhood from a vacation at Disney World and got its first look at the new 4,200-square-foot home. Tricia Creasey is suffering from Stage 5 cancer.
It was really a great experience, Jack Nagy, senior vice president of sales and marketing for United Plastics, said of the companys involvement. All of us who went down there feel very good about it.
The local firm, which has been in business more than 60 years, donated time for the makeover as well as a special building material it manufactures.
The company contributed 3,000 pounds of a soundproofing membrane that goes into the walls, flooring and ceilings of new structures, which not only reduces noise from one room to another but controls air and moisture.
This product is catching on in the building industry, Nagy said.
He explained that officials of United Plastics had heard about plans by the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for the effort in Lexington and wanted to participate.
They then contacted the contractor for the project, Hedrick Creative Building of Lexington. Officials there were familiar with the local product and said it was the kind of material they wanted included in the new home to be constructed under green, environmentally-friendly standards.
The soundproofing membrane sheets are made from 100-percent-recycled EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) plastic using materials derived from the automotive industry.
Nagy explained that the project at Lexington involved tearing down the Creaseys old home and building another in its place all within seven days. Hedrick Creative Building enlisted the aid of a small army of skilled and non-skilled workers to complete the job.
The United Plastics delegation headed to Lexington on Nov. 13 and worked from midnight to about 7:30 the next morning. They were filming the whole time we were there, Nagy said of members of the television crew for the network show that airs on Sunday nights.
They transported a truckload containing 4-by-9-foot sheets of the soundproofing membrane, which promptly got stuck in mud at the house-building site as a result of heavy rains during that week.
After others there helped free the vehicle, the local crew, which contained some engineers and other skilled personnel, got busy with such tasks as driving nails and operating forklifts until their phase of the project could begin.
The plumbers and electricians had to get in there before we did, Nagy said. The Mount Airy team then installed the local building material in various rooms of the home, just ahead of the drywallers adding their products.
As they were putting in the plastic sheets, other builders said they could notice an immediate difference in the noise levels of the structure.
The Mount Airy company official mentioned that a number of major companies and suppliers were represented at the site, but none were allowed to display logos or other identifying elements. When we got in, we were issued a blue shirt and white hard hat, said Nagy, who added that all workers looked alike as a result.
It was real cool because the commercial side of it was taken out, he said.
Nagy described the scene there as one of controlled mayhem, filled with workers engaged in various facets of the construction under the constant scrutiny of building inspectors.
But, he said, It was really a calm atmosphere of everyone working in a very cooperative manner. Nagy saw no one lose their temper the entire time.
While a camera also was constantly nearby, after a point the TV aspect of the project sort of blended into the surroundings. It was kind of interesting, because after a certain amount of time you didnt even know it was there. You ignored it, said Nagy. That was because the workers were concentrating so intently on the job at hand and their individual role in the process.
And the next morning, members of the local delegation also didnt feel tired despite a nighttime of work. Even though you couldnt sleep from midnight to eight oclock, Nagy said, we walked out of there feeling refreshed.
The climax of the project occurred last Tuesday when the Creasey couple and their three young daughters arrived back in their neighborhood. A crowd of supporters cheered as a limousine carrying the family pulled up to the new house.
Were really very pleased that we were able to be involved, Nagy said of the Mount Airy crew. I feel very honored that United Plastics was able to play a role.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.