The Alure Extreme Story – The Usea Family

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Extreme Makeover: Home Edition debuted its first ever “Coalition of Builders” in 2008. This project involved multiple builders working together on a project… and who better to be a part of that than Alure Home Improvements!

The city of Westwego had been hit by a series of hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. These natural disasters devastated the homes and lives there and all over New Orleans.

Among the hardest hit was the Usea family. Brad and Laura Usea had around $15,000 worth of damage to their home after Katrina hit. The hurricane totaled Brad’s mother’s house, leaving her as well as his older brother Chris and Brad’s twin brother Chad displaced. Brad and Laura opened up their home to all of them. In February of 2007, tornadoes tore through Westwego. At the time, 37-year-old Chris Usea was living in a FEMA trailer behind his brother Brad’s house. The trailer flew across the backyard and Chris was thrown from it. That same night, Brad heard frantic screaming and ran next door to help rescue his neighbors who were trapped in their own FEMA trailer.

Coming to the rescue is in the Useas’ blood; both Brad and his twin brother are volunteer firefighters for the City of Westwego. Through each natural disaster, these twin heroes stopped at nothing to ensure the safety of their family and community.

After the dust settled, the Useas found themselves a family of five adults and two small children crowded in a home damaged both from Katrina and the tornadoes. By giving this family a bigger home, Brad and Laura would have the space they need to raise their family, and Chris, Brad and Grandma Grace would regain their independence.

Having already performed SIX makeovers for the show, it was only natural that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition called Alure to participate in the coalition. With the opportunity to help out in an area of our country still suffering from multiple natural disasters, there was no hesitation for Alure President and CEO Sal Ferro to say, “Count Alure in!”

Ferro assembled a team of 22 motivated and heart-filled individuals, to travel down to New Orleans to help support the coalition. The project was a two site-build – the house in Westwego for the Usea family, and Noah’s Ark Missionary Baptist Church in New Orleans. The church started with some major challenges, including very tight working conditions, a busted gas line during demolition, and as a result, labor, tools and materials were pulled from the house site, creating additional challenges to meet the 5 day timeline.

Alure went down to provide some support, but after quickly recognizing Sal’s ability to bring people together combined with his extensive experience running six prior five-day makeovers for the show, Ferro ended up taking on a leadership role. He joined Deltec Homes’ Kevin Adams and Sterling Homes’ Harry Dill and they all worked together to oversee the execution of dozens of different tasks in order to get the home built on time, and safely.

Another major challenge for Ferro, assuming a leadership role, was working with limited contacts and resources, while having to motivate and inspire hundreds of workers and volunteers.

Many people don’t realize when they hear about Alure and Extreme Makeover; it’s not just about Alure building a home for a needy family in five days. It’s about the community and the support. Alure could never accomplish this without the support provided by the show, vendors, employees and installers, families, the neighbors, the local town officials and the hundreds of others who volunteer and donate their time, services and resources to make this all possible.

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