By: THE EDITORS OF THE DAILY NORTHBOROUGH by Michelle Bradley
Charbel and Christine Najem, owners of Capstone General Contracting in Northborough, have gained a new sense of pride in both their company and employees.
On Sept. 11, the Najems and more than 100 volunteers helped build a new home on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Capstone’s Worcester-based office received a call on Sept. 2 from the show’s personnel, asking the company to join the housing project for the Walker family of Springfield.
In April 2009, the Walkers were struck by tragedy with the death of 11-year-old Joesph Walker-Hoover. A victim of bullying at school for nearly a year, Walker-Hoover committed suicide at his home.
In an effort to turn Walker-Hoover’s death into something positive, his family supports bullying prevention campaigns as well as new state and federal anti-bullying laws.
Upon signing up for the project, Capstone was given 10 days to find 30 volunteers capable of doing framing and trim work who were willing to put their lives on hold for the completion of the home.
On Sept. 11, the first day of shooting, the Najems arrived in Springfield with more than 100 volunteers, including more than 50 tradesmen as well as painters, cleaners and workers with related job experience.
After host Ty Pennington and the “Extreme Makeover” team took down the Walkers’ home, Capstone’s framers stepped in and began 10-hour job shifts.
Among the 45 framers, the contracting company had 10 workers spend 36 hours straight completing the frame work. A total of 30 interior trim volunteers also rose to the occasion, working 12 a.m. to 9 a.m. overnight shifts.
“These are times when you’re able to see the heart and soul of your company as well as the people who work for you,” said Christine Najem “Our guys saw the need, and they kept going.”
In the meantime, Capstone’s office staff and additional crew in Northborough and Worcester made sure the company’s other projects were being completed on time.
“They basically held down the fort for us while we were traveling (back and forth) to Springfield,” added Najem. “We didn’t have to shut down our business or put any of our jobs on hold.”
After four and a half days of filming and working on the residence, all the volunteers and Extreme Makeover personnel had transformed a few blueprints into the Walkers’ new home.
“In the end, this was such a positive experience for all of us,” Najem added.
The Springfield episode is expected to air in mid-December.