An area contractor will be making an appearance on a national Emmy award-winning reality show.
Charles Ray Nichols, owner of Nichols Contracting in Abilene, will be assisting Ty Pennington and the gang from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". Mr. Nichols and his team will venture to Bastrop County as they help rebuild the home of a volunteer firefighter who lost her home and art studio during the September blazes.
Within the short span of a couple of weeks, Mr. Nichols applied to participate and was contacted by Joel Woodke, the show's project manager. Caught completely off guard by the good news, he saved the voicemail and shared it with his wife Amanda. He even played the voicemail during our interview.
Mr. Nichols and his company will assist with the framing of the house. Construction began on Wednesday, December 7, and on Friday he arrived on site and worked a 5 to 7 hour shift which began at 2 p.m.
His excitement is evident, but with the sudden rise to this platform, Mr. Nichols also has some concerns as he pursues his goals of humanitarian work and providing services to others.
"There's a lot to tell...to teach...to say," said Mr. Nichols.
As a man with humble beginnings in the low, socio-economic area in Abilene, he has a personal connection and desire to help people who grew up like he did. He's seen the decay of neighborhoods but overcame the stereotypes by graduating high school and pursued higher education, earning an English degree following his studies at Lee College and courses at Windham.
For the past four years, Mr. Nichols has been the owner of his contracting company, where he involves himself in all parts of the business. He's made efforts before to partner with organizations to help those in need--including the Houston branch of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)--but saw and learned the harsh reality of people out of touch with their background and contentment with the status quo.
Thus, the collaborations never came to fruition.
Nevertheless, Mr. Nichols still had the drive to be a part of something big that would lead to positive change. After meetings with Russ Altman, the Assistant Director of the Texas Tech University Small Business Development Center in Abilene, and Abilene City Councilman Anthony Williams, Mr. Nichols has taken a different approach in presenting himself and his methods of improving communities, which he believes will lead to a newfound hope.
These means have also helped him land the spot with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in Bastrop County. Citing his grandmother as a source of inspiration, "I want her to know her grandson did all he can [in helping others]."
And family is a big part to the Nichols. Mr. Nichols' cousin will be among those who join him in the project in order to show her humanitarian work. Charles and Amanda also want to pass on the legacy and spirit of giving to their two-year old daughter.
"I'm very proud of him," stated Mrs. Nichols. "He's a good hearted person who wants to take action to help others...I'm very blessed."
Upon his arrival in Bastrop County, Mr. Nichols will not only assist in the rebuilt but says he will be out there doing aggressive marketing. He hopes to meet Ty Pennington, but also for the chance to present his company and voice his determination to help others.
One day, he eventually wants to have his own show similar to "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", but wants to go beyond the construction realm to bring about personal makeovers and change.
What the result will be is unknown, but Mr. Nichols does dream big, and his help in Bastrop County is one way he continues his pursuit of helping others.