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Crane Installer Gets New Home through TV Show

Extreme Makeover Home Edition comes to Kansas City

The Jacobo family in front of their former house.
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March 20, 2007 • After two years of constant crowding at home and almost 100 weeks of overtime working as a crane installer for Custom Truck and Equipment, Jesus Jacobo finally got a break last week.


While he rested in the Florida sunshine, crews from ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition rebuilt Jacobo's 912-square-foot home in Kansas City to a new home of 5,100-square-feet. By all accounts, Jacobo and his family needed the space.


Jesus and his wife, Michelle, housed nine children and a grandparent in their modest home • which meant sleeping in hallways, a converted garage or on the floor for some children. Just four of the children were born to Jesus and Michelle. The other five children are Michelle's sister's kids, who the Jacobos took in to keep them from entering government services after Michelle's sister was no longer able to care for them. Michelle's father also lives with the Jacobos.


“Jesus is one of those people: He'd give his last dollar to help someone if they really needed it,” said Pam Bobek, personnel director at Custom Truck.


Bobek said it was clear that family was Jacobo's priority. He once told her about his own hardship: losing his mother at the age of 9. For someone who was missing parental guidance, Jacobo seems to have reversed the trend.


He even brought his whole family to last year's Open House at Custom Truck.


Bobek said Jacobo is generous to those outside his family as well. She remembers when a co-worker had an emergency at work and needed some quick cash. It was Jacobo who immediately handed it over, despite the fragility of his family's own financial situation. Bobek said Jacobo has also given co-workers gas money and has translated for co-workers who don't speak English.


“He listened to their concerns and brought them to us,” Bobek said. “He's just a very kind person and tries to do a lot for others.”


Working with cranes and heavy lift equipment daily taught Jacobo about construction. He realized the difficulty of building a new house, which is why he was so amazed by his selection for Extreme Makeover. He didn't find out that his family had been chosen until a day before the construction was to begin.
New home in-progress
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Custom Truck and Equipment helped the cause by sending volunteer groups to the work site, putting together an additional donation from employees and offering to donate Terex cranes for the work site.


As for the Jacobos, Bobek said the trip to Florida might be as much of a treat as the new house.


“I know they haven't been on vacation before,” Bobek said, recalling the high number of hours Jacobo puts in each week. “I'm sure this is a very big treat for them.”

For more on the Extreme house in Kansas City, see the Kansas City Star and Kevin Green Homes web sites.
By Angela Busch

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