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From Homeless To White House To 'The Martha Stewart Show'

When NPR's Ari Shapiro earlier this month filed a report on the 2011 holiday decorations at the executive mansion, he focused some of his attention on the diverse group of volunteer decorators who were called on to help dress up 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among those he spoke with was David Bondarchuck of Denver, who told about how he had been homeless as a teen — but was inspired to stay in school and become a caterer after watching Martha Stewart talk on TV with then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton about holidays at the White House.

"Fifteen years ago I was homeless," he said, but after seeing that TV special, "I decided that [catering and decorating was] something I'd love to do. So I stayed in school and I watched Martha Stewart every single day and started sending pictures of my events and my tablescapes to the White House. And this last August [I] got an acceptance letter" to be a volunteer decorator. He helped decorate the fireplace mantel in the Green Room and the mantel and trees in the Red Room, according to TheDenverChannel.com.

"Now that this dream has come true for you, what's next?" Ari asked.

"Martha Stewart in New York, if you're listening, here I come," Bondarchuck said.

Bondarchuck, who runs a company called Scratch Catering Services in Denver, is set to get his wish on Wednesday.

He's scheduled to be among the guests on the Hallmark Channel's Martha Stewart Show. The show's staff heard Ari's report and invited Bondarchuck to come on.

Here's a slide show that ran when Ari's story was on Weekend Edition Saturday:

Update at 8 a.m ET, Dec. 22. "This Is Officially The Best Christmas Ever!"

Bondarchuck was indeed on the Stewart show Wednesday (there will be "encore" broadcast today on the Hallmark Channel at 1 p.m. ET) and during his appearance there was a video message from a special guest — first lady Michelle Obama.

She told Bondarchuck that "you are proof that if we keep our dreams in our sights, if we work hard enough, if we weather the bumps that are sure to come along the way, then we can achieve anything we set our minds to and that is a beautiful gift for all of us this holiday season."

After which he declared that "this is officially the best Christmas ever!"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Martha Stewart and David Bondarchuck during Wednesday's broadcast of <em>The Martha Stewart Show </em>-- and as a videotape message from first lady Michelle Obama was played.
Rob Tannenbaum / The Martha Stewart Show
The Martha Stewart Show
Martha Stewart and David Bondarchuck during Wednesday's broadcast of The Martha Stewart Show -- and as a videotape message from first lady Michelle Obama was played.

Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.