'Bachelor' Andy Baldwin helps ABC's 'Extreme Makeover' build a home
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/11/2007
When he starred in ABC's The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Andy Baldwin's philanthropic nature was frequently cited as one of his most attractive qualities. Last week, that nature was reportedly put on full display when the 30-year-old undersea medical officer assisted the crew of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in completing one of its patented fix-ups in his current home state of Hawaii.
Baldwin, who awarded his final rose and proposed marriage to 26-year-old San Francisco social worker Tessa Horst during ABC's late May broadcast of The Bachelor's tenth season finale, was helping to build a house as well as a community center in Kalihi, HI as part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's current trip across the 50 states, The Honolulu Advertiserreported Saturday.
"I'm excited for what Tessa and I want to do. We're both in professions that help others and we have this public platform for that," Baldwin told The Advertiser. "But she's also very private, so that's good. We need to have that private, personal time."
Prior to becoming an accomplished triathlete, Baldwin was named ESPN's National Scholar Athlete of the Year when he graduated from high school as his class valedictorian in 1995 and also one of Cosmopolitan magazine's 50 Hottest Bachelors in 2005. Still, he said none of that gave him the type of celebrity status he's currently experiencing due to Officer and a Gentleman.
"You know, I understand now [what other celebrities go through], but I'm just a regular person," he told The Advertiser. "Now people are calling out my name when I'm walking down the street. I really wish Tessa was here with me. It would be easier to answer those questions [about us]... I'm not The Bachelor anymore, but that's all people want to talk about!"
After a brief holiday together in Hawaii over Memorial Day weekend, Horst returned to her current home in San Francisco, creating distance between the two.
"It's really hard now. We're still apart. She's in San Francisco and I'm here. I'm trying to get back into my regular life," Baldwin told The Advertiser, adding he was "shell shocked" his first day back at work. He said he's excited to get Horst by his side in The Aloha State. "She can get along with anybody. I took her to this military farewell, and she hadn't been to anything like that. But she's so good with people. She'll have no trouble making friends here."
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's trip to Hawaii will serve as the show's fifth-season premiere this fall and will transform the home of Theresa "Momi" Akana. According The Advertiser, Akana was a single mother on welfare when she founded Keiki O Ka 'Aina Family Learning Center -- a nonprofit education facility dedicated to offering cultural programs to Native Hawaiians who would otherwise not be able to afford them -- 11 years ago.
Whil Akana is no longer on welfare and now spends her days working as an advocate for single mothers struggling to understand the welfare system, her family's living conditions had remained quite poor -- according to The Advertiser, the family had been living in an inadequate structure that served as both living quarters and learning center until ABC arrived.
"Here's a woman who has given everything to help others, and that's the story we're really telling here," Extreme Makeover: Home Edition carpenter Paul DiMeo told the Hawaiian newspaper.