An exciting and emotional homecoming for a Tully family. Syracuse firefighters and others have spent the past three weeks rebuilding the home of the Johnson family: Former deputy chief Dave Johnson, his wife, Diana, and their 29 natural, adopted and foster children. Our Kat De Maria was there for the big reveal.
TULLY, N.Y. -- As a famous saying goes, where we love is home. Diana and Dave Johnson's love surrounds them and their 29 natural, adopted and foster children and has inspired so many people you can feel it in the new home the Syracuse Fire Department, McClurg Construction and hundreds of volunteers built them because they deserve it.
After three weeks of construction, the big reveal Monday had hints of an ABC special, but you don't need extreme when you have love.
“It's unbelievable. It's something so spectacular. But it feels like home. It felt like home when we walked in," Diana Johnson said.
It took a few minutes to get everyone into the house, but Dave, Diana and the kids entered to bright, open rooms, new furnishings and familiar accents.
Diana Johnson said, "To look around and see some of our pictures on the walls and his helmet on the bookshelf and just know there was so much thought put into it by so many people, just very, very thankful for this."
"This is a perfect house, but it means so more that it was a labor of love from people, our friends and our colleagues and people who don't even know us," Dave Johnson said.
Diana and Dave both say their favorite space is the new, roomy kitchen. But the biggest reaction came in daughter Grace's room to a surprise jersey signed by her favorite soccer player, Marta.
"This is, I have no words. God did it all. It's awesome," Grace Johnson said.
Even though they didn't ask for it, the Johnsons have a lot of beautiful new things.
But more than that, they have their love reflected back on them by all of the people inspired enough to make them a home.
"It's such a home. We had each other. And now we have everybody. So I guess everybody's a Johnson now," Mark Johnson said.
The Johnson family officially moves into their new home Tuesday.