For Prize Home winner, Wally, his connection to Endeavour Foundation is much closer to home than the $1.8 million Gold Coast holiday house he has won.
In fact, the self-proclaimed ‘country boy’ from the Darling Downs in Queensland, has seen firsthand how Endeavour Foundation helps people with disability to find a job they love and reach their goals.
Through his work as a delivery driver, Wally always enjoys a warm welcome from the employees at Endeavour Foundation business solutions in Toowoomba when he drops off a load.
“They are always happy to see you and on for a yarn. It’s a great atmosphere and good on organisations like Endeavour for helping people out with disability – it’s great,” he smiled.
Endeavour’s Toowoomba facility is just one of the many Endeavour Foundation business solutions dotted throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, collectively giving thousands of employees with disability an opportunity to contribute to the workforce, earn an income, and be part of an inspiring community.
And it’s loyal supporters like Wally that make it all possible.
“A lot of years ago I set myself up as Star Supporter with Endeavour and every lottery it’s just taken off my credit card,” Wally said.
“I just treat it as a donation with the chance that…maybe?”
As luck would have it, that ‘maybe’ turned into a reality with a call from Endeavour Foundation Head of Lotteries, Kirsty Moore.
“I’d had a breakdown, so I was in my old work ute heading uptown to get some parts when the call come through from Endeavour. I was going to let it go to message bank, but then I saw a spot on the side of the road where I could pull over, so I was sitting there idling in the ute when I answered the call and Kirsty said, “Guess what? You’ve just won a Prize Home!”
“I just had to sit there for five minutes and think, is this real?” he laughed.
“I’ve got one mate in particular that would actually gee me up like that, so I was going to give him a ring, but then I went home and checked the website and sure enough there were my initials and my address.”
A few weeks on and it’s still feels like a dream to Wally.
“It has taken ages to sink in,” he said.
“And now the decision is, what do I do now? I never thought I would be in this position, but it’s a nice problem to have, definitely!”
“I’ve been in the country all my life and I have always thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a holiday home at the coast?’
“Though now that I’ve actually got one, when you sit down and work out all the nuts and bolts, at this time in our lives, we could probably do with the kickstart, moneywise,” Wally explained.
“That’s the intelligent thing to do, but it’s hard to give up that holiday home that we’ve always wanted.”
And making his decision even tougher, Wally was worried that if he did to sell it, he’d feel ungrateful for not keeping the beautiful home he’d been given.
Luckily, Head of Lotteries, Kirsty, set him straight.
“She said, “We’re all about giving people chances in life and that’s what this is about – it’s your opportunity to get ahead”,” Wally remembered.
“So, I’ll probably end up putting it on the market, then I’ll pay off my mortgage, help my kids out with their mortgages, and have a little bit left over for a retirement plan.”
“What I’ll get, after I pay off the mortgages, will certainly set me up. You always wonder if you’ll have enough money when you decide to retire, but now I will. The nest egg is there now, and gee that’s a whole load off – it’s an unreal feeling.”
But don’t expect Wally to slow down just yet.
“I’m a bit of a doing person and I can’t sit idle for very long, so I hadn’t planned on retiring anytime soon, but it’ll certainly give me a few holidays and I’ll do a bit more tripping around,” he said.
“I’m still fit and able so I should do a bit now rather than holding out until that holy grail of retirement,” he added.
While Wally waits for the home’s title to be officially transferred into his name before he can list it for sale, his first trips away will be to his glamourous new holiday haven.
“We’ll try and get down there for a weekend at a time. It’s a beautiful home and it’s in a nice area there so it will be really good.”
With glistening Gold Coast beaches, the delights of Mount Tamborine, and the thrills of the theme parks just a short drive away, there’ll be plenty to explore while this humble winner soaks in the idea that he is nearly two million dollars richer.
“I’ve been reasonably lucky, worked hard and I’ve kept my health, so if I can help a little bit along the way, that’s good,” Wally said.
And now that his support has been rewarded – not that he ever expected it – Wally is eternally grateful for his good fortune.
“I’d sincerely like to thank the Endeavour team for giving me this great prize. Now I know that ordinary people like me really do win these things!”