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Large family wins $15,000 worth of cool and warmth
An essay and a drawing will help keep a family of 10 comfortable.
By LISA BUIE, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
[Stephen J. Coddington | Times]
Clare, 9, left, drew the picture and Grace, 12, wrote the essay to win an air-handling system.
DADE CITY - The Hernandez family is about to get a lot cooler.
The family of 10, which includes eight homeschooled kids, will receive a $15,000 air handling system from American Standard Heating & Air as the grand prize winners of its My Comfy Home essay and coloring contest.
"My daughter sent out an e-mail to everyone we know," said Cheryl Hernandez after the company called with the news.
The Hernandezes were one of 34 entries from around the country. From there, judges narrowed that number to eight. Finalists' entries were posted online and voters chose the winner.
"They said it was very close up until the end," Cheryl said.
The kids got the word out to family and friends after learning they were finalists. Friends forwarded it to other friends, she said. The priest at their church, St. Rita's Catholic Church, even put a notice in the bulletin.
In addition to the air conditioner and filtration system, the Hernandezes will get a half-day in-home session with home comfort expert and author Hannah Keeley, a signed copy of her new book, Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover, and a pajama party for the kids, which includes $250 cash and eight goody bags.
"The kids are most excited about the pajama party," Cheryl said.
The win couldn't have come at a better time. In May, the Hernandezes' 25-year-old, rusted air conditioner conked out for a second time. A friend rigged it but warned it wouldn't last another summer.
Clare, 9 and her big sister, Grace, 12, worked on a project for the contest.
"With eight kids and two adults, our house is a constant whirlwind of activity." Grace wrote.
"Because we live out in the country, surrounded by grass and oak trees, the pollen coming into our home aggravates my mom's and sister's bad allergies. Our numerous pets also add to the problem."
For information about the contest, visit www.americanstandardair.com.