Michelle Obama lends hands to build house for homeless vets

Associated PressJuly 22, 2011 

— A crew working on a boarding house for women who are homeless veterans got a hand Thursday from a prominent volunteer: first lady Michelle Obama.

Decked out in a sleeveless, Navy blue top, Army-green capris and green sneakers, the first lady joined the crew of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" Thursday afternoon to the cheers of a crowd that had been waiting for hours in the nearly 100-degree heat to catch a glimpse.

Obama wanted to visit a greenhouse and playhouse as part of the effort to construct a new home for the women of the Steps N Stages Jubilee House, according to a spokeswoman for the ABC network. The episode is scheduled to air in October.

The effort is being led by Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy veteran who runs the project as a shelter for female veterans. Her own home was demolished to make room for the new building.

Chip Smith, owner of Blue Ridge Log Cabins, the primary contractor, said up to 150 volunteers have worked as late as 2 a.m. some nights to tear down the old house and build the new one.

A crowd of at least several hundred cheered after seeing Obama in the greenhouse Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the finished house was due to be unveiled. But the heat and excitement may have proved too much in some cases, as a handful of people had fainted and were being cared for by emergency medical crews.

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