AirSign & EMHE Team Up to Help the Oregon School for the Deaf

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To help the Oregon School for the Deaf with one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, Extreme Makeover Home Edition chose AirSign Aerial Advertising to fly a huge banner announcing their school had been chosen.

The Oregon School for the Deaf was founded six years ago for the purpose of supplementing special provisions available in the Oregon school systems

Most Americans have heard Ty Pennington shout into the megaphone, “Family, come on out!” to reveal they had been selected as the next recipient of a new home, courtesy of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. But imagine you run out of the building and, as Ty gestures, you hear, “     .” That’s right, you hear nothing. This is exactly what could have happened in the October 31st episode of the program when the Makeover team helped the Oregon School for the Deaf with two huge projects - their Haunted House and a boy's dorm. To announce the forthcoming new facility to these deaf students, something special, a “visual megaphone message” was needed.

“The Oregon School for the Deaf was founded six years ago for the purpose of supplementing special provisions available in the Oregon school systems,” stated John Freeburg, President of the organization. “Our goals are to provide education, cultural activities, innovative programs, and capital improvements for deaf and hard of hearing children of Oregon.”

Though these goals were grand, the building with the "Nightmare Factory" under the boy's dorm had been condemned and a new facility was needed in which to make the goals a reality. This is where Extreme Makeover Home Edition stepped in. In just a week, a beautiful new facility was provided as phase one of their dreams. The planning was done; the construction was coordinated; the project was completed in just seven days! But how did EMHE overcome the challenge of announcing to the School they had been chosen?

The first part of each Makeover program is introducing the audience to the needs of the selected people. In this case, the need was obvious. A new dorm and state-of-the-art equipment was required to help these deaf and hearing impaired children learn to live in a hearing world. To announce this project, Extreme Makeover enlisted the help of AirSign Aerial Advertising, an airplane banner company that has been one big success story since its inception in 1996.

“It was extremely gratifying to be a part of this great event,” said AirSign president Patrick Walsh. AirSign’s job was to fly a billboard message over the School and the Salem community to alert them that something special was about to happen. As the message flew overhead reading “Good Morning Oregon School for the Deaf,” the children and staff, who were outside celebrating their 140th anniversary, saw the plane and banner and wondered what was going on. As their curiosity built, the Extreme Makeover bus pulled up and the team announced to them they would be building them a brand new facility!

“The entire area knew about this great event through our billboard,” Walsh said. “Anyone in Salem who didn’t know the school existed surely did by the time we finished.” For the non-hearing impaired, the drone of the engine drew their attention skyward and the broad, clear letters on the 100 feet by 40 feet sign were clearly visible.

But to the hearing impaired children it was like a visual megaphone announcement, a shout in the sky that “We are here and we are important too.” What a great day! What a wonderful week! What a creative way to make these kids feel as important as they are! And what a perfect combination - the expertise of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition team, and the AirSign team working together to announce and provide a new facility for these special children!

You can watch the full episode online here and see all the partners that helped make this project a success on ABC's website.


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Patrick Walsh
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