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But Tipton will not be daunted and decides to call the supplier herself. “I told him what “Home Again” was all about, and how important this was to the show,” Tipton says. “Then he said, ‘now why’d you have to tell me that? I’m former military, too.’” By the end of the conversation, the supplier not only gave the earmarked sod to Tipton but he donated the entire lot. “It was amazing to find that at the last minute,” Bennett says. “If anyone could pull a rabbit out of a hat, it’s Amy Tipton.” No one was more relieved at the accomplishment than Tipton, who’s lived in Wilmington on and off for the past 10 years. “Home Again” is more than a new TV project to her. Tipton was inspired to make the program when she reached a crossroads in her life last year. She was working nonstop on a production in Charlotte and couldn’t find time for the other outlets in life she enjoys. “I love volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Wilmington, it’s a great community here,” she says. Tipton is also a singer who recorded a single called “Patiently,” which is a tribute to military family members left behind when a spouse is deployed. She and her band, Copper Hill, have played the song in USO benefits in Jacksonville near Camp Lejeune. “I started thinking, what could I do to combine working in TV with volunteering for Habitat with my love for the military?” Tipton asked. Then it struck her: She could help the military by making a TV show for them. And now, here it is, Tuesday. The sod is installed and Tipton and Crookham got the word out to volunteers and military support groups like the Patriot Guard Riders, who are lining the street on the way to the captain’s house to greet him and take part in a true stars-and-stripes moment for television. As he pulls up to his home, the look on the captain’s face is one of utter shock, says Tipton. He gets out of the car and Solenne jumps into his arms. Then his wife comes over with Ronan, who Murphy hasn’t seen since he was a month old. Between the cheering crowd waving American flags and having everyone connected to the renovation there, “It was so overwhelming for all of us,” Tipton says. “It made everyone so happy because he was home safe.” Then Murphy saw the backyard and “it gave you goosebumps how thrilled he was,” Bennett says. And it was all captured on film, a living tribute to the idea that when a military family needs help, there are individuals and groups all over the Wilmington area, and the country, who are eager to help. That’s the spirit that Tipton has captured for “Home Again,” the impulse to recognize and celebrate the sacrifices military families make for all of us, and to say thank you. 38 WBM july 2013


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