Sparky and the I.C.E. Tour make an impact on the latest Alure/Extreme Makeover project

Monday, 06.28.2010 / 10:22 AM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
Share with your Friends


Photo Gallery
On the afternoon of Sunday, June 27, Sparky the New York Islanders mascot and thousands of spectators stood on Riverneck Lane in East Setauket waiting to welcome home the Lutz family and MOVE THAT BUS!

Sunday, the final day the show taped on Long Island, closed out a week of New York Islanders involvement in the project.

Sparky and the New York Islanders I.C.E. Tour were not only on hand to welcome the Lutz’s back home, but were a presence during the week. Sparky even helped Extreme Makeover host Ty Pennington work on the house!

All week long, volunteers were busy working in the blazing hot sun on the Lutz family home. Dressed in blue shirts and white hard-hats, they moved piles of lumber and operated cranes, while tractors moved dirt and concrete trucks poured a brand new foundation.

But Sparky played an important part of motivating the volunteers.

“Sparky has been all over the place,” said Bill Hankee, Islanders I.C.E. Tour representative. “He’s helped build bird houses with some of the kids and he’s been playing some of the games that are set up on the other side of the kids’ tent.”

“The Islanders have promotional tables set up with various prizes and we have our prize wheel set up to get the young volunteers involved. We’ve already had a few kids and parents actually win tickets to games for the upcoming season,” Hankee said.

Alure Home Improvements of East Meadow, Long Island has partnered with the Emmy-winning show seven times. Now on his eighth build, Sal Ferro, CEO of Alure Home Improvements, loves being able to help out his Long Island community.

“It feels great to not only lead the build but to emotionally connect with the family,” said Ferro. “Like I’ve told everybody, all Alure Home Improvements can do is lead the build. It takes a whole community to really make it happen.”
Extreme Makeover designer Paul DiMeo said “The Islanders have always been very strong in the community... It’s great to have you guys coming out here supporting Sal and Alure, the Lutz family and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

While on the set entertaining spectators, Sparky was given a short tour of the grounds by the hit ABC series’ host Ty Pennington. He helped stir up some emotion in the crowd, was shown where the crew plans to put a swimming pool and also helped some of the volunteers move the frame of a wall.
“Between the NY Islanders, the LI Ducks, the NY Yankees, we’ve had a tremendous amount of support from the local sports teams,” Ferro said.

What is really bringing this community together is the Lutz family. The late Grace and John Lutz were truly kind-hearted people. Unable to have children of their own, they adopted 18 kids. Kathleen Lutz, their oldest child, moved home after her parents passed away to take care of the six of her siblings who have Down Syndrome. When Kathleen became sick, her younger brother John Jr. also moved in to help take care of the family.

“What touches me most about the Lutz family is the unconditional love and sacrifice. [Kathleen] Lutz left her career, left her own life, to dedicate her life full-time to her brothers and sisters,” said Ferro. “They require a lot of attention, a lot of her time and love.”

Teamed with DiMeo, Pennington and the rest of the Extreme Makeover crew, the men and women of Alure Home Improvements are dedicated to building a great home for the Lutz family.
“Six of the brothers and sisters have Down Syndrome so some of the design took that into consideration,” Ferro said. “Some of the design took into consideration their personalities, what would work to help them get the exercise and recreation they want, what are their interests. So that was a major part of the whole design process to truly reflect the needs and the desires of the boys and girls.”

Ferro has become good friends with many of the designers, including DiMeo. With the I.C.E. Crew on site, the two hockey fans were inspired to talk shop:

Ferro: That’s right Long Island, I’m a big Islanders fan.

DiMeo: Well I’m a big Flyers fan. We made a nice run for the Stanley Cup, my Flyers.

Ferro: Did you win the Stanley cup?

DiMeo: No we didn’t win the Stanley Cup.

Ferro: So why talk about it if you didn’t win it.

DiMeo: Because we went to the Stanley Cup. Well, I’m wondering what your Islanders did.

Ferro: My Islanders are rebuilding. They have a great group of core guys. I just played golf with Bruno Gervais. I’m going to his golf outing up in Montreal when this is done. We have a great group of guys. Okay? You have a bunch of old guys, who didn’t win the Stanley Cup. And that’s what you want to brag about.

DiMeo: I think one of the keys here is that we’re all hockey fans. When it comes to sports, there’s nothing like the NHL. Whether you’re an Islanders fan, whether you’re a Flyers fan, a Carolina Hurricanes fan, it really doesn’t matter.

Ferro: We’re all Lutz fans!

SIDEBAR: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a reality television series on ABC. Ty Pennington and the rest of ABC’s design team travel around the country searching for local heroes, community leaders and inspirational families with heart-wrenching stories, whose homes are deemed unfit for their needs. At the beginning of the week, the homes are demolished and by the end of the week a new home sits in its place. The show airs on ABC on Sunday evenings.




1 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
12 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 77 29 42 6 201 245 64
16 BUF 76 21 47 8 148 255 50


J. Tavares 77 34 43 -2 77
R. Strome 76 16 32 20 48
K. Okposo 55 16 31 -11 47
F. Nielsen 76 14 28 8 42
B. Nelson 77 19 22 7 41
A. Lee 71 23 16 10 39
J. Bailey 65 15 23 3 38
J. Boychuk 67 8 25 9 33
N. Leddy 73 10 21 14 31
T. Hamonic 67 5 26 16 31
J. Halak 36 16 2 .913 2.42
M. Neuvirth 1 3 1 .881 2.94

NewYorkIslanders.com is the official Web site of the New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and NewYorkIslanders.com are trademarks of New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 New York Islanders Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy |  AdChoices |  Terms of Use |  Contact  Us |  Employment |  Webmaster |  NHL.com Terms of Use