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Crews offer support to project's workers

POPULAR COMMUNITY - A small white tent across the road from Renee Wilson's new house was the hot spot for tired, sore construction workers and volunteers Tuesday.

The tent offered heat and, more important, at least four massage therapists and two chiropractors who were ready to rub the stiff backs, aching shoulders and fatigued hands of construction workers and volunteers who have been working around the clock on Wilson's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" house.

As Wilson's new home took shape in the background, tents and buses around the site offered support for the hundreds of construction workers and volunteers building the five-bedroom house off S.C. 90. Planning for the home, which is being donated to the family by the ABC television show, began at least a month ago with county officials and other agencies.

"It's been an ongoing thing. It takes a lot of planning," said Horry County police Lt. K.L. Duke. "The building, as far as what the public sees, is just a small part of the whole project."

Horry County police are providing traffic control around the clock; building inspectors are at the site to examine progress; and fire and medical crews are on the perimeter in case an accident occurs.

Officials agreed to work with the show's production team to build the house and the county waived $1,583.20 in building fees, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County's spokeswoman.

"It's real important that the government is supportive. We would do whatever we could to get things moving to make sure this family is picked," Bourcier said. "This is one of the fun things we get to do."

On Tuesday, trees and shrubbery were planted around the home while work continued inside the home to make it ready for Thursday's big reveal to Wilson and her grandchildren. The family was sent to Walt Disney World during the construction.

In the hot spot tent on Tuesday, Galaxia Fletes waited alongside four other massage therapy students from Horry-Georgetown Technical College, which offered free massages to the workers.

"We've heard no complaints. People are falling asleep, so that's a compliment to us," Fletes said.

Once a massage was complete, David B. Turner of Turner Chiropractic and Rehab in Conway, got his hands on the workers and did some minor adjustments for them before sending them back to work. With the stress of deadlines looming, Turner said the group also tried to keep the atmosphere relaxed.

"We're cutting down on the pain they're enduring while they're working," Turner said. "I'd be more than happy to do it again. It gives you a good feeling in your heart to know you are a part of this and helping provide that service. I just happen to be a specialist with something to give."

Yolanda Shavies, an assistant caterer with Shooting Star Catering of Conyers, Ga., also had something to give the workers: a warm meal.

She and her crew are on their third season of the show, going from site to site providing warm meals to the workers. It can be stressful to feed that many people, but Shavies said her crew does good work and plans for anything.

"We try to give everyone a full complete meal," Shavies said and described a breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast and lunch with a meat like chicken, pork or beef, a vegetable, bread, salad and dessert. "We're always prepared, even when they miscount with the number of people who'll be here. We're always a step ahead."