Member Helps Late Friend's Family Stay in Their Home

Michelle entered the GTE Home Free Contest for GTE Financial employees, hoping to be able to help three young children stay in their home after their mother died. In 2010, Michelle rented the house to their mother, Heather, after it became too small for her own growing family and she moved out. A young widow from Michigan, Heather had relocated to Florida because she was able to secure a job. At first, it was difficult because she had no credit; the family lived in motel rooms and didn't have furniture. But once they had a home, the children did well in school and Heather got a promotion at the new job.

"When they moved in, each child came and thanked me for giving them a home in which to live. The youngest hugged me and said, now I can take a bath," said Michelle. However, Heather got sick and in November 2012, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had chemotherapy and radiation, focusing on beating the disease and getting better for her kids but sadly lost her battle in December 2013. Michelle continues to help Heather's children and their grandparents as they stay in that home. She entered the GTE Home Free Contest with the thought of being able to help them indefinitely. Michelle was one of the winners of the GTE Home Free Contest, giving her funds to pay off her mortgage over time and enabling her to bless Heather's family. "I entered the contest for my friend who died of colon cancer and left behind three beautiful children. Winning this contest means giving them the ability to have a home free that their mother found and created for them here in Florida, and their grandparents will not have that burden that they were not prepared for," Michelle said.