Wednesday night, a cadre of BYU football players shed the cloud of a 1-4 season and stepped into a world of giving in an Orem subdivision, where construction workers and other volunteers are donating skills to a grateful family in need.
It's a five-day blitz.
These BYU players, led by guard Jason Speredon, were at the home of Mike and Mindy Gleason, where throughout the week about 200 volunteers gathered to rebuild a house, a $60,000 charitable project by Heart 2 Home. It's a project that would ordinarily take two months but will be finished by Saturday, weather permitting.
The Gleason home needed this work — ripping off the back of the house and adding a bedroom, family/therapy room and bathroom — to aid in the care of tiny 2-year old Presley Gleason, who contracted RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) last winter.
This ailment has forced Presley to breathe through a tracheotomy tube and receive her food through a direct line into her stomach. She can't recover from a cough without special equipment and her vocal chords and diaphragm are paralyzed. Little Presley was just diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy with Respiratory Distress. Her challenges are irreversible and the work on the split level home is to save her from having to be transported up and down stairs.
"She'll be trach-vented for the rest of her life," said Mindy, 26. "They don't know a lot about the disease but she is doing well for what she has. Many are trach-vented as infants but she wasn't until age two. She will be in a wheelchair and hooked up to machines all her life but she is happy and very smart."
Mindy's husband Mike, 27, is a fulltime student and works as a draftsman. Mike and Mindy have a nurse tend to Presley during the night, as they sleep, to monitor her equipment and suction off her respirator as she feeds. Mindy takes over at 8 every morning.
"It's a lot of work, but she's worth it. She's a sweet girlie little thing," said Mindy.
Sandy's Dave Bailey of Bell Canyon Concrete Construction Company is an artist with concrete, and he's donated all the flatwork and use of his three-man crew to the Gleason home this week.
I asked Bailey, who found out about the project Sunday, why he got involved. He explained the weather shut down his regular projects. "And we knew they were in kind of a bind."
Then Bailey paused, a long pause. He fought to get out the words. "We've just been extremely blessed. We have a lot of work in these tough times.
"It's time to give back."
Sean Foote, who has worked with Heart 2 Home on many projects, is the general contractor. His cousin, David Foote, is a running back for the Cougars.
"We've made all the doorways and hallways wider and the bathroom will be handicap assessable to make it easier for her to get around instead of hauling up and down those stairs," said Sean Foote. "It's about 500 square feet added to the end of the house. Typically, this is a two month job, to do it in five days is stressful, especially at the beginning but with good core people and subs, we make it work."
Greg Adamson, who organizes the effort, said Speredon basically sets up the project with BYU football players' involvement as laborers, doing heavy lifting and demolition. Wednesday it was tearing out carpet.
"He gets up in team meetings and announces it," said Adamson. "And it's always neat to see the players show up. This is the fourth home we have done where they've been involved. The first one was in Provo where Jason got us involved, a complete remodel.
"He's an amazing guy and the players at BYU have amazing character. A lot of guys might show up and just put in some time as volunteers and think they are there for lunch but these guys show up and work, move things around that are too heavy for most of us. They're a great group of guys. We have them do just labor."
On Wednesday night, Speredon, whom teammates call "Spartacus", had his teammates rip out carpet and haul it out. "I think they put in about 15-man hours this week," said Adamson.
The Gleason project is the result of a nomination and vetting process by Heart 2 Home which takes on charitable projects. All professional labor is donated, as are many materials.
The Gleason family found it hard in this market to sell their home and couldn't afford to make the fixes on their house to accommodate Presley's needs, who requires 200-pounds of medical equipment to do what the rest of us take for granted.
The house do-over is a secret. The Gleasons are staying two blocks away at Mindy's mother's house. "We've been secluded, kept away. We heard some banging noises going on, but we have no idea what's going on."
Speredon and the other BYU football players are a fraction of the volunteerism in this project, but if you are on the scene, the spirit of the work hangs heavy in the air. It is life-changing for all involved.
"It's pretty amazing to see how many people get involved," said Speredon. "To see how fast this gets done is incredible. It shows the power of what people can do when they care."
Joining Speredon Wednesday after a long practice and weightlifting were Eathyn Manumaleuna, Uona Kaveinga, Jray Galea'i, Michael Yeck, Quinn Lawlor and Tom Steele.
"We are so overwhelmed with gratitude," said Mindy. "We could not do this on our own. When they told us about it, we were amazed. That people take time out of their lives, all volunteers, and love doing it, it's kind of a gifting. With the next project, we hope, they'll let us help."
For a few hours Wednesday night, for Speredon and his mates, the 1-4 record didn't hurt as much.