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Cape family receives car, cash from Ellen DeGeneres Show

By Staff | Feb 22, 2010

A Cape Coral family was surprised on national television Monday morning when footage of them winning a new car and $10,000 was broadcast on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Millions of people entered an on-air drawing for a brand new 2010 GMC Terrain and last week the show chose Cape Coral residents Roddy and Renee Gamblin as winners. They even received a personal phone call from DeGeneres.
“It was very exciting just to win the vehicle,” said Renee Gamblin, who was also handed a stack of money worth $10,000 as she sat in her new Terrain.
Renee said she watches Ellen every day and that’s how she learned about the drawing. Yesterday’s episode was actually filmed Thursday night at around 9:30 p.m. when a representative from the show and camera crew knocked on their door.
The program is broadcast weekday mornings at 10 a.m. on NBC-2 and thousands of Southwest Florida viewers and millions of others nationwide witnessed the Gamblin’s excitement and jubilation Monday when the show premiered. Two members of the audience in the show’s studio were also given new Terrains.
As soon as Renee answered the phone on Thursday she began screaming with excitement, shouting “Oh my god, oh my god,” while Ellen told her about the prizes waiting in her driveway.
“Your mom and your family are going through a tough time right now, you’re living paycheck to paycheck,” said DeGeneres live on the phone with the Gamblins. “Another thing I heard is that you’re about to lose your home because you’re behind on your mortgage payments and we can’t let that happen. We want you to live in your house.”
Renee said she entered the drawing for a new car after the family had to sell one of its vehicles. Roddy has a company vehicle, she said, but he isn’t allowed to bring it home.
“We had to give away our vehicle so we could use that money for living,” she said. “We sold it for what we owed.”
The family’s other car has more than 150,000 miles on it and they are concerned that it won’t be running much longer. Once they were presented with the new SUV, Ellen pointed out to Renee that it’s perfect for families and has a lot of special features.
“That should help ya … You’re going to love that thing, it will be reliable, you don’t have to worry about that one,” said DeGeneres.
Not unlike many other families in Cape Coral and Southwest Florida, the Gamblins are having a hard time making ends meet and paying their bills or mortgage. Renee also had a baby two months ago and is a stay-at-home mom who’s been out of work for approximately seven months. The couple also has an 8-year-old daughter.
“We are behind on our mortgage payments and bills,” she said.
They never expected that Ellen would hand them $10,000 to help offset their accumulating debt.
When asked what she planned on using the money for, she replied “To save our home.”
Even though the family was taped with a truck and cash prize, Renee said the prizes won’t be handed over for a few weeks. The car is going to be built at a GMC factory and shipped to a local dealership, and the cash will be sent in the near future.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is also sending Renee a copy of the episode. She hopes one day to see the show live in California and maybe let Ellen know how the family is doing.
“I would love to go to the show,” she said.