Home sweet home

Couple wins St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway

<p class="indent">Gene and Connie Hay of Lake Charles are the winners of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway.</p><p class="indent">The two-story home is estimated to be valued at around $550,000. Built by Salvador Custom Homes, the 3,300-square-foot house is located in the Willowbrooke neighborhood of the Graywood Community in south Lake Charles.</p><p class="indent">When St. Jude spokesperson Brittni Blankenship called the phone number listed on the winning ticket, Connie answered. She told Blankenship her husband was at Walmart, and she didn’t even know he had purchased a ticket. She said she had been bombarded with calls since the winner was announced on television. There was no way to reach him, she explained, because he had gotten rid of his cell phone after he semi-retired.</p><p class="indent">The couple strolled up to the house as cool as cucumbers about an hour later. The only thing that gave away their excitement was Connie’s comment that the St. Jude welcoming committee should have thought about including blood pressure monitoring equipment.</p><p class="indent">“We’ve been following the news about the giveaway,” Gene said.</p><p class="indent">“He purchased a ticket hoping to win the boat,” Connie said. “We never dreamed we’d be the winners of this house. It’s just gorgeous.”</p><p class="indent">Kim Salvador of Salvador Homes gave the couple a tour, starting with the kitchen, which is outfitted with Bosch appliances — one of the national St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway sponsors. One of the appliances included a $4,000 built-in coffee maker that can make 14 different types of coffee.</p><p class="indent">“No one is quite sure how to use it,” Salvador said with a laugh.</p><p class="indent">The winning couple live about two-and-a-half miles from the St. Jude Dream Home in the house they built 43 years ago. They recently updated it with new windows and gas appliances.</p><p class="indent">“I love my home, but….” Connie didn’t finish the sentence.</p><p class="indent">When asked if he had won anything significant in the past, Gene answered, “My wife.”</p><p class="indent">Other prizes and winners in the St. Jude Home Giveaway include: JoAnn Baker, Lake Charles, 2018 Tracker Heritage Edition boat, motor and trailer, Henderson Implement and Marine; Timothy Smith, Lake Charles, Forevermark rose gold pendant, Diamond Durrell’s; Norman Thigpen, Lake Charles, $5,000 Visa Card, CSE Federal Credit Union; Eva Price, Lake Charles, $10,000 furnishings and/or design services, Changing Spaces; Debra Simmons, DeRidder, barbecue grill, Cajun Outdoor Paradise; Elsa Billeaudeau, Lake Charles, Smarttouch Kitchen Faucet; Anthony Lavergne, Lake Charles, Golden Nugget Stay, Dine and Golf Package; Edgar Roncancio, Lake Charles, Dream Day Foundation, $1,000 Visa Gift Card; and Kim Ortego, Sulphur, free dinner for a year at Walk-Ons.</p><p class="indent">All 6,000 tickets were sold out nine weeks early. The winning entry was pulled by Anna Grace Dennis of Moss Bluff. Dennis is one of the many local children who has been treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the only National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children.</p><p class="indent">St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.</p><p class="indent">To date, St. Jude has given away more than 480 houses and raised over $400 million in ticket sales, making it the largest single-event fundraiser for the hospital. Chris Salvador of Salvador Homes said there will be another St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway in Lake Charles next year.</p>””<p>St. Jude spokesperson Brittni Blankenship welcomes Gene and Connie Hay to their new home Sunday.</p>RitaLeBleuFeature Reporter
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””<p>More than $600,000 was raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during the Dream Home Giveaway.</p>RitaLeBleuFeature Reporter
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