Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Central Pennsylvania companies help family in need

Michael Sadowski//June 24, 2011 (original article published in Central Penn Business Journal)

Musser Home Builders from Dillsburg led the project. Chester Musser started the company in 1972. Its current owner, Jeff Musser, is his son, who joined the company in 1988 and bought it by 1993. Musser focuses on designing and building custom quality homes, additions and remodels.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” was not the first time Jeff Musser has done philanthropic work. Musser led ABC 27’s Midstate Home Makeover projects for three years. He also started a program called Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Each month, Musser helps one family in need complete a small home renovation.

When “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” contacted him, “they were looking for a small, well-established, quality-orientated, community-focused builder,” Musser said. “I am sure that there are other builders who would have fit their profile, but we were honored to be given the opportunity to lead this community event.”

Along with selecting a builder, the producers of the show had to pick a family and ended up choosing the Keefer family from Etters. Brian Keefer was a star athlete at Lock Haven University before he suffered a gymnastics injury that left him paralyzed. Since Brian needed 24-hour care, his father, Steve, retired early to help his son remain in college.

Before the renovation, Brian was limited to a few rooms in the downstairs portion of his home. He felt like a prisoner in his own bedroom, which was cluttered with medical equipment. Brian could not enjoy the family pool, either, even though aqua therapy helps his injury.

Musser said his company’s core values are about making a difference in people’s lives, which is why he decided to help the Keefer family. While he works hard to provide a high level of quality and service, Musser said a home is not just a possession.

“At the end of my career, it does not matter how many homes we have built,” Musser said. “What matters is how many lives we touched.”

With “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Musser did not want to build just a home. “We have many goals, but the most important one is that we want this event to be a catalyst for life change in our community,” he said. “I fully expect that I will come away from this project with a renewed perspective on life.”

Mike Gaffney said he feels the same way.

“My hope is that when the job is complete, I have helped a family in need,” he said.

Gaffney is president of Gaffney’s Electrical Contracting from Dillsburg, which will be handling the electrical portion of the project. It has been in business since 1990, and its specialties are light commercial and residential electrical construction. It also performs residential service work.

Gaffney has been working with Musser since 1994. Like Musser, Gaffney worked on Midstate Makeover projects as the lead electrical contractor. His company also donated its services to Camp Tuckahoe Boy Scout Camp, Dillsburg Youth Baseball and many nonprofit organizations.

Gaffney said volunteer projects are very important to his company.

“[Volunteering] brings to light the needs of other people,” he said. “We do not realize how good we have it until we take the time to see the struggle of others.”

Gaffney also wants to build relationships with the other companies working on the project.

“Volunteering brings everybody closer together,” he said. “Hopefully as we complete this home we will realize we can work together on future projects to continue to help others in many ways.”

Total Heating and Cooling from Halifax also donated its services to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Chuck Hartzell’s company, founded in 1988, builds heating and cooling systems for residential and commercial real estate. It specializes in geothermal systems, which reduce energy consumption.

Hartzell met Musser when the builder contracted him to build the geothermal system for their church in Dillsburg. Musser asked Hartzell to draw up plans for the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” project June 11, six days before host Ty Pennington knocked on the winning family’s door.

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is Hartzell’s first philanthropic project. “I’m not trying to achieve anything,” he said. “I want to provide a good system to people who deserve it.”

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