By ABC-7 Reporter Veronique Masterson
El Paso,Texas – Nearly one year ago a neighborhood in the lower valley was invaded by construction and film crews from ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
One family was given the gift of a lifetime.
“You’re going to make me cry,” Maria Ruiz said. She still gets very emotional about the day Ty Pennington and the Extreme Makeover crew came to her home.
She says it felt like a dream. “I told Ty, pinch me, pinch me!”
It’s a dream the family still hasn’t woken up from.
It’s still enriching talents. Maria’s daughter, Elizabeth Ruiz explains, “When Ifeel like doing it, I can just go into my little studio and go paint or draw or whatever I feel like doing.”
It’s still allowing her son to find new passions with his turn tables. “At first I had no clue what to do. Not even to turn it on or anything, so after a little bit, I learned little by little,” says Jesus Ruiz, Jr.
And the new home is a dream that’s still becoming a reality. Jesus Ruiz, Maria’s husband says, “You know when we come home, we really come home.”
Maria Ruiz and her family were selected for Extreme Makeover, in large part because of all the work they do across the border. They bring food and clothing to people in some of the poorest neighborhood’s in Juarez. Work they continue to this day.
“We’ve been able to help a lot more people, thousands more people this year because the kitchen is well equipped,” Maria explains.
She says the kitchen is her favorite room in the house. “When I come into this kitchen and when I’m going to be cooking for the next day, I see these letters and these kids faces and these smiles and they just lift me up.”
Thousands of local volunteers donated their time to help build the new home. Thousands of spectators witnessed 106 days worth of work completed in 106 hours!
A time many neighbors remember vividly. “People still pass to this day to come and see the house,” explains Cindy Rubalcava.
Now the Ruiz home has more memories and monetary value. But money’s not a worry. “This house is our pride and joy. It really is…going back one year we cried and here today, and I’m crying, but I’m happy.”
To help the Ruiz family’s ministry, just click on this link, www.jemministriesep.org.