Weather Channel trailers, lights cameras and crews are parked on Hines Ave. in Mahwah for what is preparing to be a big holiday present for a resident who many around the township are calling a hero.
Suzy Godding, the stay-at-home mom who started the ‘Mahwah Elves,’ a group of volunteers who helped residents hit by Hurricane Irene, is one of five finalists in The Weather Channel’s “Epic Christmas Contest.” Godding was nominated by a neighbor.
The show is about recognizing “weather heroes” who stepped up to help in their communities during times of natural disaster, according to Jennifer Davidson, one of the owners of Pie Town, the production company behind the contest.
“It’s been a very strange year with so many weather disasters across the country, and the Weather Channel had the idea to honor these heroes,” Davidson, who came to Mahwah this week with a crew of 35 from North Hollywood, California, said.
As one of five finalists across the country, Godding and her family are having their house decked out with $60,000 worth of Christmas decorations. A la ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover, the Goddings were whisked away to the Mahwah Doubetree Tuesday, not allowed to return home until the big reveal Wednesday evening. The Goddings have no idea what their house is going to look like once it’s done, and the whole process is being filmed for the special, which is airing on TWC on December 19.
In addition to the décor, Suzy and her family picked up a $2,000 gift card and an iPad.
Though her fellow Elves Paige Wehran and Greg Dolecki, who are pitching in to help redecorate the house, say Suzy is more than deserving of the recognition, Godding credits her team of dedicated Elves.
“I had an amazing team behind me, and they really made this whole thing possible. What can I say? People in Mahwah really kick butt,” Godding, who was chosen as a finalist out of about 200 online entries this summer, said.
Suzy is also in the running to be the grand prize winner, which will be chosen by fan votes on The Weather Channel’s Facebook page. Videos of Suzy and the other four finalists explaining their weather heroism are posted on TWC’s site. Fans are being encouraged to vote for the story that they find the most moving. The winner will get $1 per vote, up to $5000, donated to the charity of his or her choice.
“Is it bad to say that I really, really want to be the grand prize winner? I just want to win the money to donate,” Suzy, who said she would split the money between RBARI (the no-kill animal shelter in Oakland) and Mahwah Fire Company 1. “I am a total animal lover, and the rescue team did such an amazing job during the storm, I really think they deserve the money,” she said of her choices.
Suzy is asking Mahwah residents to “vote as often as you can” for her, as the contest is open until December 19.
Check Patch Thursday morning for photos from the $60,000 Christmas transformation.