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Crew takes swing to demolish home

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series that will chronicle each day's progress in the Wilsons' home makeover.

POPULAR COMMUNITY - Germaine Hill fought back tears as a track hoe, gripping a giant fabricated golf club made of a telephone pole and metal head, ripped through her sister's mobile home, flattening it and nearby storage sheds in less than 10 minutes.

Moments earlier, the cast of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" - in a style fitting the Myrtle Beach area - swung golf clubs to launch golf balls hurling toward the trailer as part of the demolition plan orchestrated here Saturday morning.

The homeowner, Renee Wilson, and her four young grandchildren won a free home makeover from the ABC-TV show, which rewards families experiencing hard times with a new home built by volunteers in less than a week using donated materials.

While hundreds of onlookers cheered for the cast as they pummeled the mobile home, it was a bittersweet moment for Hill. Despite knowing her sister, niece and nephews would soon come home to a spacious new house, seeing the family's old mobile home bowled over was heartbreaking for Hill.

"It was her home for so many years," Hill said. "I've stayed there many times. It's just hard to watch."

With every grate of the excavator's claw, poofs of insulation resembling popcorn and clouds of dust spewed into the air.

The only things distinguishable in the pile of rubble were a filing cabinet, pieces of wall paneling, an old couch and a little red T-shirt, all of which were scooped into the claw and deposited into a debris pile.

Dianne Catledge of Little River was among those watching the demolition and filming. She and others were desperate for a close-up glimpse of the show's star, Ty Pennington.

"He's so handsome," Catledge gushed. "His heart has got to be so good. Thank God for him. He loves helping people."

Catledge and a throng of others screamed for Pennington and the other cast members each time they strolled in front of the spectator section between film takes.

Earlier Saturday, about 150 people wearing royal blue shirts, some carrying the S.C. state flag, made their way through the field leading to the mobile home in the show's "Braveheart" moment.

Participants included subcontractors, North Myrtle Beach school workers and members of the Coastal Carolina University football team. Their march culminated in a rallying speech from Pennington, something the large group had to do four times from different camera angles before it was considered a wrap.

"We try to have our guys learn as they come to college to put God and family first in our life," said CCU football coach David Bennett.

"We're working today on helping the community. We feel very blessed to be able to help. You get so much fulfillment from seeing other people receive help."

Once the rubble of the former Wilson home was cleared, attention turned to the adjacent field where the new home will rise. Volunteer subcontractors worked on the foundation throughout Saturday.

Around-the-clock building will commence today with the Wilsons, who are spending a few days in Disney World, returning to their new dwelling on Thursday.