Glenn Close Helps Traumatized Soldier on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
11/03/2011 AT 05:30 PM EDT
The multiple-Oscar nominee appears on Friday night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which builds a new home for an Iraq war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Through her charity work, Close met Staff Sgt. Allen Hill, who survived a roadside bomb blast but suffers debilitating flashbacks triggered by loud noises and dimly lit spaces. She referred him to the ABC show because his Ottawa, Kan., home is located near a loud rock quarry.
"Allen couldn't come home because every time there was an explosion he would go into a flashback, which is like a catatonic state," says Close.
The show built Hill a home in one week, but the surprise unveiling featuring a group of family and friends – usually the climax of the program – had to be muted to protect Hill.
"The whole crowd, children included, had to be absolutely silent to give him a chance to digest what's going on," says Close. "It was just amazing."
Close, 64, who founded Bring Change 2 Mind to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness, is shooting a new season of Damages for DirecTV and is getting Oscar buzz for the upcoming film Albert Nobbs, in which she plays a woman who dresses as a man to get a job as a butler in 1800s Ireland.