NFL star Michael Oher, whose life story inspired the movie “The Blind Side,” was a surprise celebrity guest on Sunday, as crews from the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” began building a home for Greenville High football coach Jeremy Williams, who has the terminal illness of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“(Oher) was there for the presentation on Sunday, and said some really nice things to Jeremy,” said Carol Lane, Meriwether County’s Superintendent of Schools. “I can’t reveal anything that was said between the two, because the TV people want to keep everything ‘hush hush’ until it is shown on TV.”
Williams and his family had their cell phones confiscated before leaving on a weeklong vacation to Colorado, according to Greenville High team chaplain Gerald Fowler. “The (TV people) want to save Jeremy’s reaction to it for the show.”
On Sunday, Williams had his street blocked off as the family waited for the arrival of TV show’s famous bus. Several family members and friends were around when Williams was officially told that his Pine Mountain home would be replaced by a new one.
“(Jeremy) was shocked, and I know when I talked to him later, all he could say was that he was ‘humbled,” Lane said.
Then the family was carried off to Greenville High School, where they were circled by the TV show’s construction crew and members of the school’s football team for several rounds of congratulations. Oher, accompanied by his mother and little brother, spoke for a few minutes to the crowd.
“Jeremy was crying, his wife was crying … well, everybody was crying,” Lane said.
“This couldn’t happen to a nicer family. It’s hard for me to talk about them without crying. Jeremy is a blessing to more people than you can ever imagine. He has been a father figure to many of our students that don’t have their fathers around.
“He has taught all of us, whatever comes your way in life, you’ve got the decision to feel sorry for yourself, or live life to the fullest. Jeremy has been through so much and has never given up. He’s just as blessing to everybody that meets him.”
Fowler said that the TV show is also considering repairs to Greenville High’s football fieldhouse, including new lockers and new equipment.