Updated: 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | Posted: 4:33 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2009
Extreme Makeover: Local American Dream Winner Announced
Laurie A. Schmehl of Tega Cay, South Carolina has hit some hard times recently, but now some of her burdens may be lifted thanks to an essay she wrote for the "Extreme Makeover: Local American Dream Contest". Laurie will receive $5,000 toward her American Dream and the charity of her choice will also receive $5,000. That charity is York & Union Counties (SC) Foundation Guardian Ad Litem Program, for whom Laurie does volunteer work, advocating for children in court. In addition, utilizing $1,000 in funds provided by ABC, WSOC-TV will partner with the organization to complete a project or create an event. Winners will be featured on WSOC-TV. In the spirit of the inspiring series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," (EM: HE) ABC is continuing to make American dreams come true, by giving away a total of $1,000,000 to help individuals and their local communities in the "Extreme Makeover: American Dream Edition" promotion.
In the month of February, WSOC-TV Channel 9 encouraged people to tell their story or to share the story of someone they know who is actively involved in their community and has fallen upon recent economic hardship as a result of the current financial crisis in United States for the chance to win their own American Dream or win a dream for the person they nominate. Essays were submitted through www.wsoctv.com.
Here¿s some of excerpts from Laurie's winning letter:
"I'm a single parent of three who has worked since age 11 always using my hands. Six months ago I was two weeks from my home being sold due to foreclosure. I fought, begged and managed to pull out of that. I haven't been back to work since 8/06. After 26 years, my employer won't allow me back to work because my arms can no longer manage the lifting requirements of the job.
"My windows are so bad the pains have falling out on their own during extreme heat. My ac isn't working. 1/3 of my house is painted from before my arms gave out. My wood on my chimney is literally falling off in chunks. I have bats in my eve that fly in and out nightly. We have to make sure to turn off the heat/ac (when it worked) if we use the toaster/dishwasher or microwave or we blow a fuse in the den.
"With that, I certainly had no business taking on Volunteer work. But finally had time to do what I had hoped I could do in the past. I wanted to help children who are abused and neglected. I wanted to be more hands on then in my past volunteer experiences. The GAL program is certainly that. We represent the child in court and speak on there behalf. We get to know these children and be a part of their life. I do fell quilt neglecting the much needed projects I have. But, helping children of abuse and neglect are more important then my home neglect."
Watch for more on Laurie's story on Channel 9 Eyewitness News Monday, March 30.