Let 'Extreme Makeover' mark 'new beginning'

'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" captured the imagination of our community last week like little we've ever seen.

With cameras rolling for the ABC reality show, a moldy house in Beaufort was torn down and replaced with a 4,000-square-foot, two-story, six-bedroom, four-bath home for a military family. The show's producers travel the nation, focusing on teams of volunteers who renovate a needy family's home.

In this case, the needy family is a military family. Marine Staff Sgt. Bill Dickinson is serving his country in Afghanistan while his wife and five children make the best of things at home.

We hope the national television show, which is to air in six to eight weeks, will bring new attention to the sacrifices military families endure. India Dickinson cares for her children, the youngest 18 months old, as a single parent while also working.

The families of troops serving overseas need support from their hometowns, and with the "Extreme Makeover" event this family was inundated with support.

India Dickinson said there was no way to thank all those who have given her family "a new beginning." About 3,000 people volunteered. Todd Hawk, owner of H2 Builders, which led the round-the-clock effort, said his professional crews worked 15-hour shifts. And in addition to the mortgage-free house, the family got many other valuable gifts, including scholarships for all five children to attend the College of Charleston if they qualify for admission.

We thank those who made these incredible gestures of kindness happen.

But this story can leave behind a bigger lesson. It proves that this community can achieve remarkable things if it works together and focuses.

This should spark renewed commitment to volunteerism.

Every nonprofit organization in Beaufort County -- in addition to its public schools and social services agencies -- needs new energy and dedication from more volunteers. The recent United Way of the Lowcountry campaign, which benefits 39 local agencies, is a reminder of the countless ways volunteers can improve the lives of others.

Let's not let the drive to do great things roll out of town with the "Extreme Makeover" bus. Let's view the new home as a symbol of appreciation for military families and the power of volunteerism in the Lowcountry.