VAR Helps With Wounded Soldier's 'Extreme Makeover' Home

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Internet Contrasts, a Helotes, Texas-based solution provider, last month participated in an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" project for a wounded soldier's family. The VAR donated a laptop and helped set up a wireless network for the family's new house outside San Antonio. Pictured here, engineer Denton Massey, l., and account manager Ryan Worth, are on their way into the house with some IT equipment.

Behind The Scenes

The "Extreme Makeover" teams are known for building and furnishing an entire house in a week, a process that requires a lot of preparation, precision and teamwork. Here, Massey, l., and Worth, r., follow one of the show's production assistants through the production area where the crews sleep and work.

"We pretty much exclusively do commercial work and not residential, but this is something we wanted to do to give back to those who sacrificed so that we can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today," said Jarred Worth, general manager at Internet Contrasts.

Helping Hand

Here, Massey looks out at the house under construction in Floresville, Texas, 30 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Internet Contrasts got involved with the project through its relationship with Morgan's Wonderland, an amusement park for which the VAR had done some major IT work. Morgan's Wonderland was tapped to coordinate the project, the first time in the show's nine seasons that it has tapped a nonprofit for that job, according to Morgan's Wonderland.

Under Construction

An exterior shot of the house being built for the family of Shilo Harris, who was badly burned while on patrol in Iraq in 2007. During the construction, Harris was visiting other wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Germany. He is now pursuing a career as a motivational speaker and the house has been specially designed to help him in that cause, according to Worth.

Firewall Installation

Massey and Ryan Worth work on the placement of a Watchguard firewall for the Harris family. Three members of Internet Contrasts' staff were on-site for a day near the end of the week, said Jarred Worth. The show is expected to air as a two-hour special in December and be one of the final four episodes in the series, he said.

Inside Job

Internet Contrasts' Massey has to configure the firewall back in a production trailer.

"The problem was inside the house there were dozens of people, dirt, and no power yet," said Jarred Worth. "And they didn't have Internet yet. We went out to the trailer to configure everything."

Setup Time

Massey continues to configure the firewall, putting commands into the device plugged into a laptop.

"We set up a wireless network and provided a laptop with docking station, keyboard and mouse," Jarred Worth said. "[Harris] was wounded in 2007 and he's kind of an entrepreneur now. They brought in all kinds of equipment to help him achieve that goal, including a touch-screen TV that he can hook into the laptop and specialized programs to control everything in the house."

A Hard Day's Work

As the sun starts to set, it's easy to spot the progress made on the house during the day as volunteers gather outside. Internet Contrasts' staff was invited to the big "reveal" but was unable to attend. Jarred Worth said the VAR was happy to be able to contribute, especially to a soldier, as the military has a big presence in the San Antonio area.