They call themselves the Extreme Team — a group of volunteers helping members of their community who are in dire need. The team runs off equipment donations and volunteers and so far, there has never been a shortage for help. The small group has drawn a lot of attention in the Pacific Northwest; in fact, the news segments that regularly air on the Extreme Team have been so powerful that they have been nominated for two Emmy Awards.
Nine years ago, the Spokane, Washington, ABC news affiliate KXLY and their Good Morning Northwest anchor, Mark Peterson, started the Extreme Team segment to help individuals who financially or physically are unable to complete household projects. Backed by strong community support, the Extreme Team has grown from helping struggling families to now also bettering the community around them.
The Extreme Team works on four major projects and a few smaller ones each year, depending on the need. In total, they have finished 44 projects that have made a profound impact on their community. While KXLY established the volunteer program, the Extreme Team would not exist without local businesses pitching in, volunteers willing to help out, and equipment and product donations.
“The Extreme Team has been a big success on the air at KXLY, but it is the volunteers and local businesses that support it that make it work,” said Peterson, who runs the Extreme Team program. “Our cash outlay is minimal because of in-kind donations. It is hard to estimate the value of all the projects that we have done, but it would have taken a substantial amount of money to fund them if not for the great people we have here in the Spokane area.”
According to Peterson, the Extreme Team has a diverse group of volunteers.
“Our volunteers come from all over, from business groups, Rotary clubs and the National Guard,” Peterson continued. “We get anywhere from eight to 10 people for a day, and with that many people a lot can be accomplished. Sometimes we even have as many as 50 volunteers helping us out. It’s a really awesome thing.”
Most recently, the Extreme Team focused on a big community venture, sponsored by Hometown Chevy, that involved three youth baseball fields in two states: one in Spokane and the other two in Post Falls, Idaho. The little league fields needed to be completely rehabilitated — from the bleachers to the dugouts to the fields. There were many problems to address, including uneven surfaces at each of the three fields. Until the recent volunteer efforts, it had been years since the fields had been maintained because it would have been too costly.
For this reason, Diamonds and Dreams, as KXLY titled it, required some heavy equipment. Peterson called FMI Equipment, who has been their resource for all their equipment needs in the last several years. FMI donated a brand new Takeuchi TL8 track loader and TB240 excavator to assist with the baseball fields.
“Mark usually gives us a call whenever they need some equipment for an upcoming project,” said Dave Kopp, president of FMI Equipment. “We donate different equipment and products for each project depending on their needs. It is a great cause and we love helping them out with it. Mark and his team at KXLY do a really nice job with it and it has been a big success.”
“We have many companies that provide us with labor and products, but FMI provides all the equipment,” Peterson said. “FMI has been extremely generous in helping us with the machines and the Takeuchi machines often get TV time during our Extreme Team segment. If we had to rent those machines, we would not be able to do the size of the projects that we do. It really is a community effort.”
The TL8 and TB240 are two of the newest machines in Takeuchi’s product offering and were vital in pushing the Diamonds and Dreams project along. They were utilized for a good portion of the rehabilitation and the Extreme Team had fun using them.
“We love Takeuchi and the best part about their machines for us is that they just never quit and we have never had any issues – no mechanical or hydraulic issues, they have been flawless,” Peterson said. “I work with Lance Pounder of Lance Pounder Excavation, who owns Takeuchi machines, so he can jump in there and rock and roll with it. A lot of my other volunteers also run Takeuchi, so it makes it easy to jump into the newer machines and get the job done quickly.”
While it is hard to put a price tag on the value that Mark Peterson and the Extreme Team have provided the Spokane area, it goes above and beyond any monetary value — just ask the hundreds of children that now have a well-maintained field to play on in the summer months. In a news world that often can be bleak, KXLY has shed light on a more positive side with nine years of countless photos and video of hard work and plenty of smiles.
**Note: Photos courtesy of Kelly Tareski Photography