Ripatti-Pearce Thank You Letter 3/28/07
The "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" event has been such an amazing experience for my family and me. It is truly remarkable how much it has changed our lives and helped our family.
We couldn't believe it when the film crew showed up at our doorstep. It was very surreal. I was so emotional when we learned we had been chosen, because it had been such a difficult adjustment for not only me, but for all of us, in the past months. I never imagined that all of this would happen.
The trip they sent us on to Cabo San Lucas was so cool. We stayed at the Hilton, a wonderful resort hotel, where they treated us like royalty. It was a dream vacation come true for anyone, but most especially, under the circumstances, it was just what the doctor ordered. It was the first time in months that we could just sigh, catch our breath, and take time to adjust to everything that had occurred.
We had so much fun in Cabo, swimming, the jet skis, snorkeling, surfing and swimming with the dolphins. I was apprehensive with the jet skis, but after a few minutes, it felt I had my old life back; swimming with the dolphins was a unique experience for anyone, but one all of us will treasure forever. The highpoint, of course, was surfing! It was an amazing surprise. The best part of all, though, was that this was the first time, since I got hurt, that Tim and I were able to spend some alone time together.
When we got back to see our new house, I was so excited. I didn't know what to expect. When I got out of the limo and saw all of the LAPD officers lined up, I was so overcome with emotion again. I am so proud to be apart of the LAPD and so honored that they all showed up to support us. I thought it was so cool they had the LAPD bomb squad truck out there instead of the bus.
When they moved the truck and I saw our new house, I was so stoked! It was perfect! I thought it was just so amazing and beautiful. I will never forget that feeling.
Everything is absolutely fantastic with our new house! It has been so wonderful for me. The house felt very comfortable and accommodating the instant we moved in. There is just so much open space for me to move around in, and we love the "great room" (living room/ kitchen area). This room has been especially wonderful over the holidays as we entertained our friends and family.
Instantly, the house changed the way I have been able to interact with baby Jordan. I am now able to be involved in every aspect of her life. She seems much more relaxed with me now. Tim and I love our master bedroom, and the bedroom fireplace has been so great, since I get cold frequently.
Everyone asks how the track system works. It really helps me get off of the floor, and it is very important for me to get vertical, instead of sitting all of the time. They have provided me with a harness that will place me in an upright position as well, which is really neat.
Cornerstone Construction Group and the Braden family have been absolutely wonderful. We have not had to worry about anything, and the job didn't end the night the show aired. Cornerstone has seen to it that everything is working perfectly and continuously keeps in touch with us making sure it is just how we want it. You can tell they have pride in their work and feel it is a reflection on them and their values. They have been great, as well as, all of the other vendors!
We just can't thank everyone enough: ABC, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the Design Team, all of the countless volunteers and people who so generously donated time, materials, their prayers and well wishes, and of course, the LAPD. All of this has meant so much to me and our family and will remain so forever.
There has been so much love and support from the community for us. It has really been overwhelming. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to be a part of this experience and witness so much genuine, unselfish love from so many people. We are so grateful for what everyone has done for our family to make this time in my life a little bit easier to handle, while giving me so much to look forward to. Thank you!
-Kristina and the Ripatti-Pearce Family
Meet the Family:
Husband and wife Tim and Kristina worked together as police officers in the gang division of the LAPD. They met on the job, married and now have a young daughter, Jordan. Despite the extreme dangers of their jobs, Kristina and Tim are both happy and proud to serve and protect their community.
Just how dangerous their job could be became a reality when tragedy struck this past summer. One summer night in 2006, Kristina and her partner followed a man who was acting suspiciously. When he started to run, they pursued him on foot. When Kristina caught up to him on foot, he shot her. Her partner shot and killed the gang member and called for help. Over the radio Tim heard that an officer had been shot, and he immediately rushed to the scene to find his wife fighting for her life. Kristina survived the incident, but is now paralyzed from the chest down.
Confined to a wheelchair, she now endures rigorous physical therapy. Because of her condition, the small two-bedroom home the family lived in no longer accommodated her needs. The Ripatti-Pearce family needed a wheelchair accessible home with a third bedroom for Tim's mother, Jean, who wants to live with the family to help care for Kristina and Jordan.
When tragedy initially struck Tim and Kristina, Tim's mother (Jean Pearce) and Kristina's mother (Margaret McConnell) met at-length to discuss who could provide stay-at-home care-giving for the family. Margaret and Jean reached a mutual decision that Jean should make the offer to Tim and Kristina because Jean was single and already retired. Kristina's mother, Margaret, is married, has a 94-year-old mother to take care of, and works full time--hoping to retire in the next couple of years and draw a full pension. To both women, it made the most sense for Jean to move in with Kristina, Tim and baby Jordan.
Kristina and Tim's lives were changed in an instant that night but Kristina is a fighter and is still fighting today. Both Tim and Kristina have served their community. Cornerstone Construction Group, the Redondo Beach community and the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" design team are proud to salute their local heroes with a better and more accessible home.
Kristina and Tim on June 3, 2006, 10AM. They were running to raise money for the families of fallen officers. Tragically, twelve hours later, she was shot herself.