Married pastors won a prize worth $50,000.
LOWELLVILLE -- Bob and Sue Blessing are accustomed to their last name being the subject of plenty of bad puns and jokes.
Though "they've heard them all," the couple didn't deny the appropriateness in dubbing a prize worth $50,000 to be a blessing for the Blessings. The Mahoning Valley pair was selected by WeatherTite Windows, WYTV Channel 33 and the public to receive an Extreme Home Makeover for the exterior of their aging home.
Both Blessings are pastors at an independent church, Visions of His Glory Ministries, on U.S. Route 224 in Poland. The couple has spent most of their life savings to fund the small, family-style storefront church, which serves primarily the disenfranchised and disassociated.
With most of their cash tied up in helping others, the Blessings don't have much left to spend on new siding or other home-repair projects around the exterior of the house. In addition, they had to pay to have their roof repaired twice last year, the result of a dishonest roofer who did a shoddy repair job the first time around.
"I've been in this house 25 years," said Sue, who has been married to Bob for just over six years. "When I moved here, the outside needed work."
The contest was inspired by the television show of the same name, which gives a deserving family some much needed work on their home. More than 300 applicants entered the contest and a panel of judges narrowed the field to eight on March 28. The Blessings were chosen as the winning family by the public at the Southern Park Mall Home and Family Show last Saturday.
"We were looking like the worst house in the neighborhood," Sue said during her first meeting with Merv Hollander, owner of WeatherTite.
"We'll show them," Hollander said. "You're a deserving couple and you deserve this. You won't know this house afterwards."
Hollander said the prize will include new windows, siding, gutter covers and an enclosed, three-season comfort room/patio. Work could begin as early as Wednesday and Hollander expects the project to take about 60 days to complete.
Hollander and his son, and WeatherTite co-owner Adam Hollander, said they and WYTV staff had difficulty selecting the initial eight finalists, as each applicant was "so deserving."
The seven other finalists will be given a $500 gift certificate from WeatherTite, and Hollander plans to give special discounts to the hundreds of other applicants.
"All the entries were worth winning," Hollander said.
The Blessings, who were entered into the contest by one of their parishioners, said they are grateful for the gift they have been given.