Usher says it’s ok to cry when watching ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’.
“I can’t say that I’m a crier every time I watch,” the music superstar, an admitted fan of the show who also helps out on this Sunday’s latest home makeover, tells Fancast. “But this time I cried. They got me on camera crying. I couldn’t help it.”
Usher returned to his home state of Tennessee to help build a new home for Clarksville resident, Trina Scott and her three daughters. Scott lost her husband, Dave, a Clarksville police officer, in 2002 when he and his partner were tragically killed while on duty.
Their police car was violently hit by a truck. The car spun out of control, hit a guardrail, caught fire and killed both Dave and his partner.
Overwhelmed with grief, Trina turned to a group called Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.), which helps the surviving family members of officers killed in the line of duty.
Inspired by the help she received from C.O.P.S., Trina devoted all of her free time to the organization and became its president in 2003. Her volunteerism essentially turned into a full-time job – on top of the full time job she worked to support her three daughters.
In the meantime, despite spending more than $20,000 on repairs to her small home, she was unable to stay ahead of structural problems caused by termites and water damage as the house fell into a miserable state.
Enter Ty Pennington, Usher and the ‘Extreme Makeover’ crew.
“This family, the Scotts, exemplifies giving back to the community,” says Usher. “Here they had lost a husband and a father in the line of duty and they managed to still give back and find strength in doing it. Trina was incredible. So was the whole family. And I wanted to be a part of this effort. There couldn’t have been a more deserving family. Plus it’s something I believe in – volunteerism, giving back and service to the community.”
It took seven days to build the new house and Usher was there for almost half the time. “I was O.K. in wood shop,” he told Fancast, adding a small laugh as he described his turn with the power tools. “I think I managed enough to know my way around a saw and a sander.”
In his shirt sleeves and sunglasses, Usher also worked on special projects for the Scott’s daughters and Trina herself. “It was a labor of love,” he says. “There’s hard work, and then there’s heart work.”
“I was especially moved when I sat down and talked with the kids,” he adds. “This is an overall story about the trauma of losing a family member, about loss in general, and moving on and finding strength and healing in giving back.”
Usher was so moved by the Scotts that he gave the C.O.P.S organization a $25,000 grant through his New Look Foundation to parcel out in sums of $500 to other youth to start community service and social entrepreneurship projects.
“I started the foundation to create and encourage service-minded youth leaders and entrepreneurs,” he explains. “ Service is the focus. Once they are successful, you want to make sure they keep understanding that giving back is what got them here and what’s going to keep them here.”
“There are those who are blessed and those who are less fortunate. Giving back shares the fortune. We encourage it.”
“I’ve found the biggest blessing in life come from giving back, not receiving,” he says. “That’s what I hope America sees. Hopefully it will encourage others to give back and enjoy the rewards that come from feeling you’ve helped other people. There’s nothing better.”
Usher’s episode of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” airs Sunday, December 6 at 8 PM on ABC.