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Grand Prize 1 - Juanita Gentry

Dear Vroom Team,

"Home is where the heart is." That is why my heart is in Guatemala. I yearn to be there as I picture my parents and siblings. They'll be gathered in their tiny home with dirt floors and mud walls. But for you to get the whole picture, I should really start at the beginning! I was born in a tiny hut in a tiny village in the remote mountains of Guatemala. For two and a half years I lived happily with my parents and three older siblings. Suddenly I became very ill and was ill for several days. My brother and sisters were sick too. I had an extremely high fever for ten days. These ten days were a never ending nightmare for my parents. They buried two of their children and kept a round-the-clock vigil over me. Since I was the youngest and weakest, they were almost positive that they would lose me too. How they rejoiced as I slowly got better. It was only then that they realized that the illness had taken my vision.

It was after this that they had to make some heart wrenching decisions. One of those was to send me to the United States to get some medical help. They did not have the means or money to do this but when the opportunity arose, they jumped at it. They put their little three year old daughter on a jet in someone else's hands. And with great hopes and broken hearts watched me fly away. They cannot read or write so our communication through the years was limited. When I was eighteen I decided to make the journey home to meet my parents and siblings. The loving bond was immediate and I have made several subsequent trips since then. My husband and I took a trip back shortly after we were married so that my family could meet him. We then took our daughter for her third birthday in 2005 so they could get to know their grandchild. We now have a two year old son whom they have never met. My husband and I have been struggling financially and do not have the means to make another trip. Both of my parents have been gravely ill this year and how I would love for them to meet our son.

This is why going home for the holidays would be a dream come true. I have no memories of spending this special time of year with them. I KNOW it would be wonderful though! Although my sight was not restored, I am tremendously grateful to them for giving me the opportunity that they could not have. I would love the chance to hold them in my arms and say thank you one more time. Thank you for considering me for this contest.


Juanita Gentry

Grand Prize 2 - Bruce Arnold From Florida

My Story:

I would like to fly home to Rhode Island for the holidays with my wife and two boys. My parents live there and they don't get to see us too often and it is a special time to be able to visit with them, especially at Christmas. I am the only one of my family who is away from home, and it would mean a lot to us to be able to visit my brothers and my step sister also, and their children. My sister died two years ago and we would like also to see her two children. Money is tight with most everyone these days, and that is probably the main reason we could use some help to get there to see them.

Another reason we would like to be there is because our two sons just love the snow. Ok, Dad likes the snow too! We hope it will snow really hard, after we get there though, not while we are trying to land at T. F. Green Airport.

Rhode Island is a unique place, as many New Englanders know. Whenever we visit we must make the obligatory trip to the shore, and buy some clam cakes and chowdah! Then there's the coffee syrup, the official drink of Rhode Island, some of that always makes its way back to Florida with us. Johnny Cake meal and Moxie, spinach pies and pizza finish up the delicacies! Yes, food is another reason we like to visit, and when our family gets together we like to eat!

There will be thousands who will enter this contest and I realize my chances are slim. But thanks for at least looking at this entry and even if we don't win, we'll have a great holiday anyway. Our faith in God and his son Jesus are the main thing we want to celebrate and no matter where we are, we can do that.

Runner Up 1 - Sue Kinton

Actually, I don't want to go home. I want to visit my best friend and adopted sister in Tennessee. We were both only children and have known each other since high school. She graduated in 1965 and I graduated in 1966 from Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Ohio. We each got married. Her first child, a son, was born October 6th, 1968 and my first child, a daughter, was born October 4th, 1968 and we shared a hospital room.

A few years later we each moved from Mount Vernon to Fredericktown (Ohio) and still continued to be best friends and "sisters", sharing everything. We were stay-at-home moms and our kids played together. Then life changed and through a series of events, she moved to Arizona nearly 30 years ago, then later to Tennessee, where she now lives. Over the years our parents died, kids grew up, she was divorced, but the one thing that didn't change was our friendship and love for each other. Each day starts with an email to each other and ends with a "good night" email. I would like to win the contest and visit her in Tennessee.

Thanks for reading my story and good luck to all the other entries!!

Runner Up 2 - Cesar

This photo was taken in the 80's at a small house in Mexico. This is a group of cousins that used to spend so much time together.

They used to play hide and seek, soccer, and many other games that involved sweating and no remote controls where required.

The time passed and this kids became teenagers, some of them moved to other states with their families...

The time didn't stop and the teenagers became undergrad students, some of them moved even farther.

The time keep passing and one of them moved the farthest... and this one has been in other country for the last 3 years.

There is a chance that all of them get together for this Christmas, and the kid with the biggest cheeks wants to be there.

He is in NY and he would love to see the gang, since most of them have children than he hasn't meet yet.


Runner Up 3 - Ronnie Bolton

My hometown of Fort Worth is very special to me! I grew up in Fort Worth and now live away from home and family. I truly miss downtown Fort Worth and all the Christmas lights and the horse drawn carriage rides, even though there is a nip in the air it is truly Christmas! And of course to be a cowboy, I was a cowboy growing up and truly miss the cowboy ways! And the Christmas tree in Sundance Square and drinking hot cocoa and watching the little kids take all the sights in and stare in wonderment and expectation of Santa coming.

I would truly like to be home in Fort Worth for Christmas with all my family with me and to celebrate with them! I miss all the sights and sounds, all the lights shining on the river, the lights everywhere in downtown, just being back home for Christmas! I truly would love to win a trip home for Christmas, it has been a really difficult year for me with health and other things, being with my family would be great!

Thank You!

Runner Up 4 - Melissa Jones

Story: Technically, I don't want to go "home" for the Holidays. My hometown is near Fort Worth, TX. There really isn't much there except a bunch of people I stopped talking to after graduating from high school and realizing there was much more to life than that town. Don't get me wrong, my brother and his family are there and I love them dearly, but I actually just saw them a couple of weeks ago when I went to see a game at Texas Stadium. Huge Dallas Cowboys fan you see, and its their last year playing in that stadium.

Living in Las Vegas can be hard. Especially around the holidays and without family in town. But before you get out the box of tissues, I will let you know where I would jet off too around Christmas time. My parent's retired and moved to Panama City Beach, Florida. So while technically this isn't my hometown but it is where my parents are so therefore that's where I would like to be. It's a small little beach community and a little non-Christmas spirit like, I would love to be reading a book on the beach wrapped in a shall after gorging myself on my mom's Korean food and my dad's fried turkey. It's an odd mix, but so are we. Actually, afterwards, we tend to get a little tipsy on red wine and sing karaoke. No kidding.

So if you don't pick me, I expect at the very least some recommendations on where to get good Korean food and fried turkey on Christmas Day in Las Vegas.