Meet Our Winners: Heading Home for the Holidays Never Looked so Good! Brian Lees December 23, 2015 Contests, Family Travel, Videos 11 Comments This blog post was updated on February 17, 2016. The wait is over! After sifting through 2,500 entries, and shedding more than a few tears—we’re finally revealing the winners of the CheapOair #HomeAwaits Holiday Contest to you all! Here are their heartwarming stories. Watch the Video Home is: The Warmth of a Tight-knit Community “It would mean so much to both him and me”. Laurie Joshua and Laurie Smith our Grand Prize Winners Recently married Laurie Smith caught our eye with her impassioned plea to fly her and husband Joshua, home for Christmas for the first time in eight years. Joshua works in non-prof, urban settings where he’s championed the causes of the less fortunate for almost 20 years. “Every year, he was either hosting Christmas for people who would otherwise not get to celebrate or […] his non-profit salary was just not enough to cover the trip,” said Laurie. Choosing to provide cheer and much needed sustenance to Baltimore’s poor, Joshua’s non-profit work involved living among, and helping, the homeless. Not only have they started their own non-profit organization, but Joshua and Laurie also work tirelessly to stop sex trafficking in one of the worst areas of Baltimore. So, where did he get this love for social justice? Joshua credits his mother, grandmother, and his uncle Lester. “Mom’s a retired, inner-city school teacher who spent a lot of her own money on others,” he said, “and Granny… she’s the 80-something-years-old, breast cancer survivor, and mall-walker,” said Joshua fondly. Uncle Lester is a teacher and master carpenter who runs a family bible study for going on 17 years. Joshua says he relies on his family and friends for spiritual and emotional support in his life. He and Laurie had been unable to share the holidays with his family in Milwaukee—until now! We thought Laurie and Joshua – the givers – couldn’t be more deserving of a trip back home for the holidays, and we think you’ll agree when you watch what happened. It’s: Strengthening Childhood Bonds “My fondest childhood memories revolve around my Dad.” Karen Karen Shaughnessy and Dad Brooklyn native, Karen Shaughnessy moved away to Oklahoma when she married in the eighties, leaving behind her beloved dad in New York. Karen, who has a sister in Long Island, reminisced about growing up in Brooklyn as “Daddy’s little girl.” Watch the reunion. “Our house was not fancy but it was warm and our clothes weren’t the newest, but they were clean. Our vacations were mostly local but boy were they fun. He saw to all of this. He worked several jobs and I never once heard him complain.“ Her father is now seventy seven and overcame many obstacles, including cancer; twice. He’s also lost vision in one eye and is now unable to travel. Due to financial setbacks, over the years, she and husband Rick could not afford the trip though they longed to visit him. With Dad in ill health and unable to travel to her, Karen reached out to us for a little help. Since it’s been seven years since she last saw him and 33 years of Christmases apart, we were only too happy to oblige. Home is: The Joy of New Traditions “This is a huge moment for all of us”. Charlene Charlene and Brent Adamson Homesick Charlene Adamson had some big news and was desperate to share it with her family! Having moved away from Cleveland some years ago, Charlene and hubby Brent found themselves just too busy with their life in Illinois to make it home. From a close knit family with one older sister and three younger brothers, Charlene longed to spend Christmas with her siblings and her mom and dad. Having lived away from family for almost 10 years, she missed out on important family milestones and events. But as fate would have it, this year Charlene and Brent would have a milestone to announce that would forever change their lives. “We’d love to make it home to tell my parents about their first grandchild that is on the way.” Charlene’s dream was to see the looks on her loved one’s faces, when she announced that she and Brent—are expecting a baby! Take a look at the reaction! Watch all three of these remarkable stories here, and share the joy and emotion that traveling home for the holidays can bring. Are you traveling home for the holidays? Let us know how you plan to spend the season in the comments below.