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Community, crew dig in

POPULAR COMMUNITY | The sharp smell of freshly cut wild onions and the aroma of turned earth permeated the air around the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on Friday as workers smoothed the land for new construction.

Bulldozers and tractors whirred and bumped over what once was a bean field just behind an exhausted-looking trailer Renee Wilson and her four young grandchildren called home.

The Wilsons won a free home makeover from the ABC TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The show rewards families experiencing hard times with a new home built by volunteers in less than a week using donated materials. The Wilsons will move into their new dwelling on Thursday.

The site on Friday was abuzz with earth-moving machines, utility workers and production staff. Bleachers and metal barricades had been erected in anticipation of spectators arriving today. A tobacco field next to the building site was leveled and filled with production trucks, buses and a tent draped with camouflaged netting, where the show's carpenters will work on their custom designs for the new home.

"This is moving out day," said Extreme's location manager, Milan Vasic. "We're packing up their belongings."

Movers carried out boxes, garbage bags, pieces of furniture and other items from the mobile home and loaded them into a United Van Lines truck headed for storage.

Near the new home site, Maria Rosa, a security guard with Excalibur Security, directed traffic and vendors. A fan of the show, Rosa said she was elated her company was asked to partake in the effort.

"If I would have been this lady, I would have dropped dead from the sheer joy," Rosa said. "I've watched the show and have always wanted to see a house built from the ground up. This is a dream for me."

Behind Rosa's post, a group of massage therapist students were already kneading the tired muscles of some of the workers and production crew.

"We've had 40 people already," said Joseph Emery, a massage therapy instructor at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, which was asked by the show to provide back, neck and shoulder massages during construction. "We haven't had any celebrities in yet. Of course, most of the students are young and female and they're dying to see Ty [Pennington]."

No doubt, the massage therapists will see more action after today, when crews demolish the careworn mobile home and begin building the new house on an adjacent lot more suitable for the bigger abode.

Goodbye, bean field. Hello, house.

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