After Hurricane Michael damaged the home of Gold Star widow Cody Patron, a television show and others are stepping in to help.
“Military Makeover with Montel” is filming this week in Panama City Beach, with cast and crew hard at work shooting scenes and renovating the home. The show focuses on home makeovers for veterans and their families.
Patron was not at the home Thursday but is expected to be there Saturday to see renovations during the big reveal.
“I am totally amazed something like this would happen to me,” Patron said during a phone interview with The News Herald.
Patron said she hopes the show will bring attention to how Panama City and surrounding areas are still recovering from Hurricane Michael.
Patron’s husband, Sgt. Daniel J. Patron, was killed in August 2011 while serving in Afghanistan as a Marine explosive ordnance disposal tech.
“There’s been this attitude in America that just saying thank you for your service is enough and it isn’t enough. In this case, we have a Gold Star widow who lost her husband defending this country and almost lost her house because of Hurricane Michael,” said Montel Williams, show host and military veteran. “For us to get an opportunity where the rubber meets the road, to not give a handout but a hand up, that’s very special. The fact that the entire community recognizes it and comes together to do so, that’s very special.”
The episodes on Patron’s home will be a six-part series expected to begin airing toward the end of August and continue through September and October. They will air at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday on Lifetime Television.
Businesses, including Kilgore’s Flooring, have pitched in to help.
“We are honored to have been chosen to install flooring for the ‘Military Makeover’ project,” said Jessica Kilgore, manager for Kilgore’s Flooring. “It has been a great experience and the floors look amazing. We have been serving Bay County for over 54 years and we enjoy participating in projects like this in our community.”
Art Edmonds, co-host for the show, said the filming has “been an amazing week thus far.”
“We’ve had a lot of challenges but this is what we do on ‘Military Makeover.’ We come in, we rally the community, they show up in a big way,” Edmonds said. “We have lots of veterans who want to help. The EOD community is here. They’re helping one of their fallen members. We’re here to support this Gold Star widow, to help her house become a home again because it was destroyed pretty badly with Hurricane Michael.”
The reveal day when Patron will get to see the renovations should be an “amazing thing to see how they react,” Edmonds said.
Jennifer Bertrand, designer for the show, called the renovations and general activity during filming “controlled chaos.”
“We have a lot of national people coming together to help this,” Bertrand said. “We have big brand names helping. My dad was military. A lot of us who work on the show have family members who are veterans so when you get to do it, it’s the biggest warm fuzzy (feeling) you can get. You get to be Santa Claus.”
Bertrand also said they get to be “storytellers of the countless veterans all over the United States” through the show.
“If you can, do something in your own world to help a veteran,” Bertrand said. “It doesn’t have to be something big. It can be something small.”
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