HGTV Dream Home in Winter Park, Colorado

Since 1997, Home & Garden Television has been surprising one viewer every year with a house full of good news! The annual Dream Home Giveaway began with a cozy log home near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This rustic Western retreat kicked off an impressive lineup of Dream Homes, each one more spectacular than the last!

Over the years, HGTV architects have built breathtaking homes across the country—from Beaufort, South Carolina, to Nehalem, Oregon! For the 2007 Dream Home, HGTV chose a stunning location at the foot of snowy mountains in Winter Park, Colorado.

Designers got to work creating a winter wonderland, while more than 41 million people entered to win the grand prize. In March 2007, a retired postmaster from Tennessee got the surprise of a lifetime!
Bob and his wife, Lorie, discuss their new dream house.

Sometimes good news comes when you're least expecting it. Bob O'Neill was having dinner with his wife, Lorie, and their friends when an HGTV camera crew appeared to make an exciting announcement. Bob was the winner of the 2007 Dream Home!

Not only did Bob win a $2 million, 4,600-square-foot house, he also received $250,000, a GMC SUV truck and a doggy dream house! Bob's name was randomly selected from millions of entries, but he hasn't always been so blessed.

In 1983, Bob's world was torn apart when his oldest son, Alfred, was killed in a car accident. Bob says the tragedy took a toll on his marriage, and eventually, he and his wife divorced. He found love again when he met and married his second wife, Melanie. The couple shared 18 happy years together. Then in 2004, Melanie lost her life to cancer.

Bob says he wasn't sure if he would ever remarry. Then, he met Lorie. They said "I do" in 2006. The newlyweds, who currently live in a double-wide trailer in Johnson City, Tennessee, say they still can't believe their good fortune. "I'm still in shock," Bob says. "Totally, totally in shock."
Jack Thomasson describes the dream home's features.

Bob and Lorie never imagined living in Colorado...but they might reconsider after seeing the inside of this dream home. Jack Thomasson, the house planner for this spectacular ski lodge, takes the new owners on a tour.

Jack starts in the lodge room, where Bob and Lorie can sit and enjoy an amazing view of the Western Continental Divide. "We have captured those views from almost every room in the house," Jack says. All Bob and Lorie will need to move in are two toothbrushes and a few suitcases. The home comes completely furnished and decorated, from top to bottom!

The location is ideal for avid skiers, and although Bob says he won't be hitting the slopes, Jack says there are many other activities to keep him busy. He can bike, hike or head to the community clubhouse to bowl.

Jack says HGTV builds a dream house every year to show viewers what great design is all about. These designers are about to embark on a new challenge: the 2008 Dream Home! After tackling cold Colorado, the crews are heading south to Islamorada, Florida, which is located in the Florida Keys. While Bob enjoys his mountain views, next year's winner will be able gaze out at the Gulf of Mexico. "It's in a really beautiful spot," Jack says.
Olympic athlete Toby Dawson and his adoptive father, Mike

Toby Dawson, a U.S. freestyle skier, wasn't always known by that name. Born in South Korea, Toby was adopted when he was 3 years old by American ski instructors, Mike and Deborah Dawson.

"My family told me that I was deposited off at a police station, and I was put in an orphanage," Toby says. "I never thought about finding my biological parents. I figured that they both had probably passed away...or at least that's the little story I played in my own mind, not to feel so hurt and feel abandoned."

Toby and his younger brother, who was also adopted from South Korea, grew up in Vail, Colorado, a resort town where very few people looked like them. Toby says feeling like an outsider was especially painful.

The ski slopes were the one place Toby could escape his insecurities. "When I would put on my ski gear, it was like putting on a mask," he says. "I would transform into this different person and have all the confidence in the world. It's just like a superhero. When you shed off all of my ski clothes, I became that quiet, shy kid again."

That quiet kid grew into a fierce competitor on the slopes. Toby won more than a dozen international competitions before landing the biggest prize of them all: a spot on the U.S. 2006 Olympic team!
Toby submitted DNA to determine who his biological family was.

Toby achieved one of his life's dreams as he skied his way to glory with a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Little did he know his success would bring more good news.

Toby's new international status catapulted him into the worldwide spotlight, particularly in his native South Korea. Toby says people there began to come out of the woodwork claiming to be his biological parents and blood relatives.

Before a scheduled trip to South Korea as an honorary ambassador, Toby submitted DNA samples to confirm whether anyone who came forward was really related to him. "I didn't want to show up at the airport and have 50 people show up at the airport and say, 'Hey, I'm related to you,'" he says.

Just two days before his trip, Toby got surprising news. "Someone told me that, 'We have found your biological father,'" he says. "I believe my heart stopped."
Toby is reunited with his biological father.

A few days later, Toby and his fiancée, Leah, traveled to South Korea to meet Toby's biological father. As cameras flashed, Toby's father, Kim Jae-su, walked into the room. "I just didn't know what to do, so I just threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug," Toby says. "He started crying, and he kept saying, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry.' I just held him tighter."

While the father and son don't share a common language, Toby practiced one phrase in Korean to say to his dad: "We've been waiting a long time, father."

Toby says while it was a little uncomfortable at first, he quickly felt a strong connection to Kim Jae-su. "He started talking about when I used to ride on his shoulders," he says. "He told me that I liked to copy what my mother was doing, so one day he came home and I had lipstick all over my face."

Perhaps the biggest moment for Toby was finally learning how he was separated from his family. "My father told me that my mother had lost me in an open-air market," Toby says. Though Kim Jae-su says he searched for Toby at police stations and orphanages, he never found him. It turns out police had taken Toby to an orphanage far from his family's home.

Toby has not met his biological mother, as she and Kim Jae-su have split up and both remarried. But Toby did get a big surprise—he has a little brother he didn't even know about! "He's about five years younger than I am, and he's so much fun to be around," Toby says. "It's so weird to be an older brother to this kid that I never even imagined having."

"I really felt like this big piece, this huge mystery in my life had been put back together," Toby says.
Kim Jae-su meets Toby's adoptive parents, Mike and Deborah, and his fiancée

Toby's adoptive parents, Mike and Deborah, have never met Kim Jae-su—until now! Kim Jae-su came all the way to Chicago to see his son again and meet the couple who raised him. "I want to thank them very much for raising him so well, remarkably."

Kim Jae-su says the reunion wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been for a friend who was watching Toby during the Olympics. "He said he saw [Toby] in the newspaper, and he said he looked like me," Kim Jae-su says, with the help of a translator. "And also he said he looked like his younger brother as well, so that's why [I found him]."

Deborah says finding Toby's biological father was a dream come true. "[Toby's] dream was always to go to the Olympics," she says. "My secret dream inside was that through the Olympics, [with] how they always portrayed the athletes and told about their background ... he would find his birth family."
Pastor Will Bowen starts a challenge to eliminate complaining.

Did someone cut you off on the freeway this morning? Was your coffee a little too hot? People complain about major and minor things every day. But Pastor Will Bowen of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Missouri, is trying to change all that.

In a Sunday morning sermon, Will told his congregation he wanted to make the world a complaint-free place. To prove he was serious, Will passed out purple bracelets to each church member and offered them a challenge.

"If you catch yourself complaining, you take [the bracelet] and you move it to the other wrist," Will says. "The idea is to ultimately keep it [on the same wrist] for 21 days." Will chose this length of time, he says, because scientists believe it takes that long to form a new habit.

Will believes if everyone would stop complaining, the world would be a much better place. "[I think] everybody agrees the world is not the way we would like it to be. I wonder if there's some relation between the two."
Oprah challenges Reggie to stop complaining

Will says he has seen positive results in the people who took on his challenge. "When they can eradicate complaining from their lives, they truly become happier," Will says. "It's like if you're not articulating the complaint, if your complaint has nowhere to go, your mind stops creating the complaint."

If you want to know the difference between a comment and a complaint, Will says to pay attention to your feelings about the issue. "If you're putting a lot of energy into it, if you want it changed, you're complaining," he says.

The challenge has exploded in popularity, and according to Will, 1.3 million people in 80 countries have requested the purple bracelets. "This is our gift to the world," he says. "We're not out to raise money. We want to raise consciousness."

When Oprah hears about Will's complaint-free challenge, she has someone in mind—her makeup artist Reggie. "[He complains] all day long. He complains that I'm not sitting still enough. He complains that I didn't bring the [false] eyelashes," Oprah says. Reggie says he'll take on the challenge! "I'm going to try. I really am, because I'm a complainer," he says.
Valerie and Kelly decide to help a baby in Ireland.

In October 2006, Oprah gave more than 300 audience members the opportunity to experience what she calls "truly the best gift"...the gift of giving back. During Oprah's favorite giveaway ever, each person in the audience received $1,000 to donate to a charitable cause of their choice. Several months later, the challenge is still going strong—and has even gone international!

When audience members Valerie Creedon and Kelly Blask heard about a baby in Ireland who was in need of serious medical attention, they instantly knew they wanted to help.

Baby Joshua has arthrogryposis, a disease that forces his joints to contract. When he was born, his hands were curled into his chest, and his legs were bent back so far that his tiny feet touched his back.
Gillian says Joshua has medical problems, but to her, he's perfect.

Despite Joshua's problems, his mother Gillian didn't focus on his imperfections. "I remember telling people that there were a few problems with his hands and legs, but apart from that, he was perfect," she says. "And I think that's how we'll always see him."

Though Gillian tried to stay positive, life for Joshua was hard. Doctors told her that Joshua would never sit up or walk, and Gillian says that dressing him was "a nightmare." "It was hurting him. It was physically hurting him."

Doctors told Gillian and her husband that they had a difficult choice to make: Either Joshua would have to go through two decades of painful surgeries—or they could remove his legs. After much consideration, Gillian and her husband made their decision. "He was exactly 1 month old when he had both legs amputated," Gillian says.
Greg Greenway fits Joshua with a tiny pair of prosthetic legs.

Valerie and Kelly decided to use their Pay It Forward Challenge money to help baby Joshua's family pay for his medical care. But as one phone call turned into many, the pair realized they could do so much more!

Through overwhelming contributions, Valerie and Kelly arranged for Joshua to be treated at a Shriner's Hospital in the United States. Then they met prosthetic limbs expert Greg Greenway, who gave them great news. "Greg said there was absolutely no question that he could walk, but that we had to start as soon as possible," Gillian says.

Greg arranges for Joshua to get a tiny new pair of legs—complete with his very first pair of shoes! Greg says Joshua will have to be fitted for a new pair of legs each year as he grows. "Our hope is to give Joshua something so he can start to establish some standing balance," Greg says. "As he gets that balance and strengthens the core, then he can start to hopefully take some steps."

Gillian is overwhelmed. "Because of Pay It Forward and what these women did, my son was able to sit up and blow out his birthday candles. The future is just burning with possibilities for Joshua now."
Valerie and Kelly start a nonprofit organization.

Once they were in the giving spirit, Valerie and Kelly just couldn't stop! After helping Joshua and his family, the pair set up a nonprofit organization called Pay It Forward for Hope.

Valerie says the organization's goal is to help children with complex medical needs, like Joshua, and their families. According to Kelly, Pay It Forward for Hope has raised $12,000 in cash donations and much more in donated services so far.

Through their organization, Valerie and Kelly want to continue the spirit of the Pay It Forward Challenge beyond the people whose lives they touch. "The kids we help, hopefully they'll be able to help someone else," Valerie says.
FROM: More Good News
Published on March 27, 2007


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