The fortunes of a struggling Hawkinsville family have taken quite a turn for the better in the past week.
It all started when Holly Goss got a surprise phone call from Ellen DeGeneres, host of a popular daytime TV talk-variety show. DeGeneres told her she had won $20,000 in the shows Viggle contest. Viggle is a smartphone app in which users are entered when they click while watching the show.
But that was just the beginning of how Goss life was about the change. DeGeneres wanted Goss to bring her husband, Jeremy, and their three children to Los Angeles to be on the show Monday, which aired Tuesday. On Sunday night they were on a plane, which was Jeremys first flight.
We thought she just wanted us to come out and be in the audience, Holly Goss said.
But during the show they were called to the stage and told they were the winners of the shows JC Penney home makeover. On Wednesday, JC Penney designers were at their house. Now they are staying with Goss mother in Hawkinsville while the show refurbishes their house. They arent allowed to see it until it is finished.
I promised them I wouldnt drive by and look at it and I havent, she said.
She entered the makeover contest a couple of months ago, and didnt think much about it until she got the news on the show.
They bought a house built in 1941 that had no central heat and air, no insulation, and rocks for a foundation. They knew it needed work, but figured they could gradually improve it over the years. They were quickly overwhelmed, however, with what needed to be done.
Goss gave birth to twin girls 10 months ago, and she quit her job so she could stay home and look after them. In the winter the house would get so cold at times she would go to her mothers house to make sure the babies, as well as their 3-year-old son, stayed warm.
Meanwhile, Jeremy was working 60-70 hours a week at his job spreading fertilizer to try to make ends meet. When they found out they had won the $20,000, they had 52 cents in their bank account.
Now the show is going to do in a few days what would have taken them years.
As she talked about the familys adventure Saturday, Goss voice was hoarse. She said that was because she had spent the past two days weeping with joy.
Its been breathtaking and its been awesome, she said. I just want everyone to know that if you are having problems, just hang on because you never know what might happen.
Their flight back from LA was diverted due to the storm in Oklahoma. Goss started thinking about the tornado victims, and the children who died, and she wanted to do something to spread their fortune. So they decided to ship all of their old furniture to aid the tornado victims.
She has been overwhelmed with the response not only from her community, but from across the nation and the world. People she doesnt even know have offered to help with the makeover, but the show has said it wants to do it on its own.
Its been amazing, she said. Everybody has been just so supportive and caring toward us.
And their adventure isnt over just yet. They were supposed to see their home Tuesday, but the show wants them to fly back out to LA to be on again. She isnt sure why, but suspects they will get a glimpse of their new home on the show.
It really has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, she said.