‘This is unreal!’ St. Jude Dream Home winner tours new home

Houser only bought one ticket, so he says he never expected to hear his name called.
Houser only bought one ticket, so he says he never expected to hear his name called.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 12:03 PM EDT
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MONROE, N.C. (WBTV) - The winner of this year’s St. Jude Dream Home says pictures are just not the same as seeing the home in person.

Ben Houser of Vale, North Carolina, got to take a tour of his new home with WBTV’s Mary King.

“I think it’s beautiful, is what I think,” said Houser as he stepped into the home. “It’s really beautiful.”

» FULL SHOW: Watch the 2022 St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway TV Special

Ben Houser of Vale, North Carolina, got to take a tour of his new home with WBTV’s Mary King.
Ben Houser of Vale, North Carolina, got to take a tour of his new home with WBTV’s Mary King.(WBTV)

The 82-year-old drove to Monroe with what he called his “entourage”, including his sister Sandy Brooks and several of her friends.

“I had to come because I wanted to help him, even though he can get around just fine,” said Brooks. “I really wanted to see this place!”

The two say they couldn’t believe just how nice the house, built by Newton Custom Homes and Realty, is in person.

“This is unreal,” said Houser stepping into the owner’s suite.

“This house-- I absolutely adore it,” said Brooks. “My favorite part of it… of course I love the bedroom because that’s your hideaway, but I love this kitchen with that breakfast nook area.”

Houser only bought one ticket, so he says he never expected to hear his name called.

“I was watching the show live and I was hoping I’d win one of the other gifts that y’all were giving away, but I didn’t win them,” said Houser. “So, I thought, let’s just see who won the grand prize.”

Houser only bought one ticket, so he says he never expected to hear his name called.
Houser only bought one ticket, so he says he never expected to hear his name called.(WBTV)

Then he relived the moment he heard his name called, “Ben Houser of Vale, North Carolina. I liked to pass out!” he laughed.

Brooks says she was even more surprised.

“I thought, Ben Houser spent $100 on a ticket?!” she joked. She then explained how their parents lived through the depression and taught them to save money. She also explained that she hadn’t heard of the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway before Ben’s big win, but he told her he always buys one ticket each year.

“He said, I bought it for those kids at St. Jude,” said Brooks. “I always buy a ticket for those kids because it’s a good cause. And I thought, ‘My brother!’” Brooks got emotional and put her arm around her big brother beaming with emotion and pride.

Houser says his family has been in Vale his entire life, so he’s not sure yet what he’s going to do with his new home, but he does know he’s going to keep supporting St. Jude.

Brooks said she now has plans to get a ticket next year.

“Next year I will buy one, too,” she added. “Not just because he won, but because it’s a good cause.”

‘This is unreal!’ St. Jude Dream Home winner tours new home
‘This is unreal!’ St. Jude Dream Home winner tours new home(WBTV)