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Published: Wednesday, 11/12/2008

'Extreme Roof-Over' friends parody popular TV show, help Oregon widow


Step aside, Ty Pennington. There's a new home remodeling show in town.

About 35 volunteers banded together in Oregon last weekend to put a new roof on the home of a friend and recent widow, Sheri Ulinski.

Parodying the popular Extreme Makeover TV show, the group filmed their efforts with a home video camera, staged mock scenes similar to the real TV program, and called the project "Extreme Roof-over."

They plan to put the footage on DVD and distribute it among friends and family.

Helping to organize and host the project was Ron Rasey of Springfield Township, also known as "Ty Ronnington" for the purpose of the show. He wore a spiky-haired wig and fake goatee to mimic the look of Mr. Pennington, the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Mr. Rasey, an ex-roofer, and other friends and co-workers of Mrs. Ulinski decided to help the 52-year-old after they discovered she was in dire financial straits following the death of her husband in August.

One of Mrs. Ulinski's main concerns was the roof on her house, which leaked in several places.

However, she couldn't afford the $28,000 she'd been quoted to get it fixed.

That was where her friends decided to step in.

"She's not just a hard-luck story. She's a wonderful, kind, loving, very cheerful, very upbeat, and true friend," said Carole Finger, who has worked with Mrs. Ulinski at Teledyne Turbine Engines in Toledo for more than 10 years. She said the widow has been generous to others.

"It was our turn to pay her back," Ms. Finger said.

It was Mr. Rasey's idea to call the project the "Extreme Roof-over." He volunteers as a lieutenant for the Lucas County sheriff's auxiliary, and helped with security when the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show came to Toledo in September.

"It was just such a fantastic experience, it transformed Toledoans," Mr. Rasey said. "I thought it would be kind of fun that all the volunteers had the most fun they could possibly have doing this, so I thought I'd do a parody."

Working all day Saturday and Sunday, the group of friends re-roofed Mrs. Ulinski's house and porch.

Mr. Rasey said the work would have taken longer without so many volunteers.

The work was paid for initially by Mr. Rasey, who said he spent about $2,200 on materials.

However, the group intends to make the money back with a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser tomorrow.

Mrs. Ulinski played her part as the overjoyed roof-makeover recipient by dressing in a frumpy nightgown and putting curlers in her hair. She said seeing her friends rally around to help her was a gift straight from heaven.

"It feels like I've been lifted up and it's almost as if my husband is taking care of things," Mrs. Ulinski said, her voice filled with emotion.

"It means the world to me because now I can stay in my house."

Mrs. Ulinski's financial struggles began after her husband, Eddy, lost his battle with bladder cancer. The widow lost the income from her husband's pension and took money from her 401(k) retirement account to make ends meet.

To add to the grief, her father died in October.

"You have to have faith in order to get through it," Mrs. Ulinski said. "It's hard on me, but it's better for both of them, they're not suffering anymore. But it's lonely without the ones that you love."

The spaghetti dinner fund-raiser is tomorrow from 3 to 11 p.m. at VFW Post 3265 at 5416 North Summit St.

Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

Donations also can be sent to Sheri Ulinski, in care of Lorraine in payroll, at Teledyne Turbine Engines, 1330 West Laskey Rd., Toledo, 43612.

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