York, PA - Brian Keefer was the president of the gymnastics club at Lock Haven University. He was a record-holder in track and field, and a volleyball player and coach.
On July 1, 2008, however, Keefer suffered a gymnastics injury that paralyzed him from the chest down.
His family's home in Newberry Township proved a challenging environment for the now-23-year-old. Its rooms are small, said his father, Steve Keefer, and modifications to allow for easier movement are hard to make.
Brian Keefer's room in the house is particularly troublesome. It is so small and cluttered with equipment that he sometimes feels trapped there.
On Sunday morning, however, the Keefers received news that might soon help their son regain some freedom.
Around mid-morning, an enormous
Brian Keefer answered.
"Good morning, Keefer family!" Pennington crowed, according to Brian. The Keefers had been selected by the show to have their home remodeled, with another fully accessible home -- with a separate entrance -- built for Brian.
The family rejoiced.
"We were overjoyed," Brian said.
The family will take a weeklong vacation while the project is completed. Thousands of volunteers will work alongside Pennington and other designers to get the house done before the family returns.
Their work will be featured on an episode that will air this fall.
The Keefers' neighborhood buzzed with excitement throughout the day Sunday.
Newberry Township Police escorted the show's bus up I-83 and into the family's neighborhood. Security guards blocked off the streets surrounding the Keefer home from anyone who didn't live there while Pennington and other show personnel informed the family of their plans.
Production crews also rolled into the neighborhood, carrying cameras, cords, microphones and other equipment. Don and Sandy Wilt, who live behind the Keefers, volunteered their lawn as a place for crew members to set up shop during the week.
The couple plans to leave Tuesday for an Alaskan cruise they had planned long before learning of the show. Don Wilt's father, however, will be staying at the house to watch the couple's dog.
"He'll get to see all the festivities going on," Wilt said of his father.
Jane McMullen, of Camp Hill, and her husband recently listed their family's recreational vehicle for sale on Craigslist. They got a call from ABC shortly thereafter asking if the network could use the couple's RV for crew members during the project.
McMullen watched Sunday as production crews tried to level the vehicle in the yard beside Wilt's house.
"We were just glad we were able to help in some fashion," McMullen said.
The day's excitement came to a head when scores of volunteers, dressed in blue T-shirts and hard hats, marched up the street, with cameras rolling, to meet the Keefer family, Pennington and other designers, who had assembled in front of the family's home.
The volunteers hooted, hollered and clapped loudly all the way up the street. When the volunteers reached the Keefers, they surrounded the family and chanted Brian's name.
If you go
The Keefer family home, 75 Dubbers Drive, Newberry Township, will be under construction this week as part of the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Volunteers will be working around the clock to get the house done in a week.
Spectators are invited to visit the site 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.