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Blogs from March, 2009


On Sunday, March 29, 2009 "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" aired the story of the Almquist family, who currently live in an aging trailer and are struggling to uphold their animal sanctuary in Phelan, Calif., The family as well as the animals that they have rescued will now have a new and improved place to call home. H.L. Moe Co., Inc., a leading union plumbing contractor based in Glendale, sent several employees to participate in the seven-day frenzy to complete the home on time.

The Almquist family mission has been to protect and care for the wild life community; only a few years into their marriage, Joel and his wife Chemaine decided to build Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary, a place where abused or neglected animals can come to live in a peaceful and loving environment.

Currently, Forever Wild provides a home for a variety of animals including:

  • 9 tigers
  • 3 sulcata tortoises
  • 3 parrots
  • 10 alligators
  • 4 servals
  • 4 Mexican beaded lizards
  • 2 Siberian lynx
  • 1 Egyptian cobra

The Almquists never wish to turn away animals in need, but their monthly care expenses have become overwhelming, and they're unable to expand or improve their facilities. To maintain the sanctuary, Chemaine works tirelessly within their community, recruiting volunteers and donations, and Joel even holds down a second job.

While the Almquist family has busy creating a safe home for so many animals, their own home has nearly fallen apart. They live in a doublewide trailer that is held together by duct tape, lacks any heat or air conditioning and has leaking pipes and large gaping holes throughout the floors.

"I am extremely proud of our team and the leadership they have taken to participate in this project," said Mike Davis, President of H.L. Moe Co., Inc. "As a company, we have always looked for ways to incorporate philanthropy in our work. It is very rewarding to see that during a time when so many people in financial straits, there are still those who spring into action when the need arises."