The TV show "Military Makeover" gave a complete home renovation to the family of Chris Hixon, a military veteran and one of the victims who died in the Parkland shooting two years ago. His wife, Debbi, told Insider the couple had been planning to remodel their kitchen before Chris' death. But the TV show picked up where they left off, giving a complete makeover to the family's home in Hollywood, Florida. Art Edmonds, the show's co-host, told Insider they frequently work with Gold Star families who have lost loved ones, and try to "incorporate the deceased into the design."
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Before the mass shooting that devastated Parkland, Florida, Debbi and Chris Hixon had been making plans to remodel the kitchen in their aging, mid-century home. They talked about putting an island in the center, expanding the cabinet space, placing a "fancy hood" over the stove, and installing a big, farm-like kitchen sink. But those plans were torn asunder on February 14, 2018, when a gunman opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 people. Chris, who had tried to disarm the shooter, was among those killed. His wife, Debbi, and their two adult sons, Corey and Tommy, have struggled to rebuild their lives ever since. So when a mutual connection between Debbi and the television show "Military Makeover with Montel Williams" suggested she apply, Debbi immediately agreed. Chris had been a veteran who served for 27 years. Debbi told Insider she wasn't sure what to expect when the show agreed to renovate her home in Hollywood, Florida — she discussed with producers the projects Chris had left behind, and made clear that she didn't want the renovations to erase his memory. She had lived in the home her entire life, and spent 30 years there with Chris raising their two sons. "I was really concerned that he would be gone," Debbi said. The show tried to honor Chris by incorporating his plans into the renovation
Art Edmonds, the show's co-host, told Insider they frequently work with Gold Star families who have lost loved ones, and try to "incorporate the deceased into the design." Sometimes that means designing a gallery of memorabilia, or creating a memorial garden outdoors. It's a big ask, Edmonds said. "Military Makeover" uses entirely donated materials, and the entire project had to be completed in just 12 days. "They didn't want to lose the memories that they had, so we never try to make it look like it's not their house," Edmonds said. "We try to make it look like it's their house, but with the memories of the loved one still there." In Debbi's case, the show placed long, floating shelving units in several rooms to hold photos and artwork memorializing Chris. As a final touch, they completed the kitchen renovations Debbi and Chris had planned for. The workers created more wall space to extend the cabinets, installed a spacious sink, placed a long table in the middle that serves as an island, and gave Debbi the "fancy hood" of her dreams above the stove. "It really brought beauty and life back into our lives," Debbi said. "Not just because our house is so beautiful and light, but the energy and compassion and love that went into it." The first episode of "Military Makeover" airs February 14, on the second anniversary of the school shooting.
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The 2 US Navy sailors being hailed as heroes in the Pensacola shooting were fresh out of military training
Two slain US service members who have been hailed for their perseverance during the mass shooting...Two slain US service members who have been hailed for their perseverance during the mass shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida recently finished their introductory training in the Navy. Family members of two of the reported victims, Joshua Watson and Mohammed Haitham, say they were notified that the men tried assisting authorities during the shooting. Both service members had recently graduated from their respective introductory training stations. A previous incident during a mass shooting in Florida bore some semblance to the victims Naval Air Station incident. Fifteen-year-old Peter Wang, an aspiring US Army soldier in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program, was killed in the Parkland shooting after he held open a door to help dozens of classmates and school staff members escape. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Two slain US service members who have been hailed for their perseverance during the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, recently finished their introductory training in the Navy, paralleling another story marked with bravery from an aspiring troop wishing to serve in the armed forces. The Navy announced the men's identities on Saturday. They also confirmed that a third man, an airman apprentice named Cameron Scott Walters, was also killed. Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Watson of Alabama was one of the three people killed in the shooting on Friday. Watson, an aspiring naval pilot, recently graduated from the US Naval Academy. According to a Facebook post from his brother, Adam, Watson had informed first responders of the shooter's details and location, despite "being shot multiple times." "Today has been the worst day of my life," Adam said in the Facebook post. "My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting." "He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled," Adam added. Watson, who was conducting flight training at the base, was the officer on deck during the shooting, his father, Benjamin, told USA Today. He added that his son wanted to join the military since he was five years old. "Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter," Benjamin told USA Today. "He died serving his country." Nineteen-year-old Mohammed Haitham of Florida, another victim, was also hailed for his service, his mother, Evelyn, told local media. "The commander of his school did call me," Evelyn, a Navy veteran, told the Tampa Bay Times. "He told me my son did try to stop the shooter." Haitham graduated from high school in 2018, joined the Navy, and had recently graduated from basic training. He was assigned to flight crew training in Florida, where he was expected to finish this month. "He said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas," Evelyn said. "Now that's not going to happen." Capt. Tim Kinsella, the commanding officer at NAS Pensacola said in a statement that the sailors showed "excepctional heroism and bravery in the face of evil." "When confronted, they didn't run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives," Kinsella said. "If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse." A previous incident in Florida bore some semblance to the victims Naval Air Station shooting. On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people. Fifteen-year-old Peter Wang, an aspiring US Army soldier in the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program, was one of the students who was shot multiple times and killed. Wang, who was in his JROTC uniform during the shooting, held open a door to help dozens of classmates and school staff members escape from the carnage. He was posthumously accepted to the US Military Academy at West Point "for his heroic actions."SEE ALSO: Trump and his team are going out of their way to tell everyone how sorry Saudi Arabia is about the shooting at a Florida naval base Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam