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Yet for Darwin and Barbara, the Outer Banks wasn’t a vacation — it was a destination they wanted to make permanent — and they took FOX Business along for the ride.
As we got to know the couple, we found out their journey to get their American dream home was one paved with some extraordinary challenges, both financial and medical.
“I have learned to have more empathy for people who are struggling physically, mentally, emotionally or financially.”
Since we filmed this episode in early 2022, I wanted to follow up with Darwin to see how the couple was doing — and go deeper into the journey that took them to this point in their lives.
It’s an amazing tale of overcoming adversity in both business and health.
This couple, Barbara and Darwin, shared their story of trying to find the perfect home for their family with Cheryl Casone, host of “American Dream Home.” There was a far larger story as well. (FOX Business)
Read on for my Q&A with this new homeowner.
Cheryl Casone, FOX Business: What was it like filming with the production crew?
Darwin, new homeowner: The production crew was awesome. They were so polite and accommodating. Several times, I thought to myself, “Why are they being so nice to me? I am just some guy.”
It was really fun to see what goes on behind the scenes. We had to film each scene several times, at different angles. Now, when we watch TV and movies, we talk about where the camera must be located in each scene. We also speculate how many times it took them to film each scene.
“Barbara and I can be happy with some money in the bank or without a cent to our name.”
The producers helped us to know what to do and some of the best ways to explain our situation. That was very helpful. We also learned that the most important part of each shoot is lunch!
Q: You had many obstacles before getting to this point in your lives and being able to afford your American dream home. What would you say you’ve learned in life that you carry with you today?
A: A few things. I have increased my capacity to overcome obstacles. When problems arise, many of them don’t seem as hard as things I have already overcome. I am more determined than I knew. I have learned to have more empathy for people who are struggling physically, mentally, emotionally or financially.
Barbara and Darwin are shown during their “American Dream Home” search on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Turns out their story of struggle even before this moment had quite a few twists and turns. (FOX Business)
Barbara and I can be happy with some money in the bank or without a cent to our name. Being happy with your spouse shouldn’t depend on your bank balance.
Also, even though I have goals to obtain nice things, like a beach house or a sports car or nice clothes, they don’t define me. They don’t define my family.
So I could lose them all tomorrow, and I would still have a great life with my family. I would work hard to get them back, and I know I could do it.
But that has to do more with pushing to reach goals than it does with me defining my worth and happiness with riches.
The couple looked at this Outer Banks house during their search for the right home for their family. Having experienced hardship in the past, homeowner Darwin told Cheryl Casone, “I am grateful for every day, and I am working on making my family financially secure in 10 years.” (FOX Business)
Q: Losing a home is tough, but it happened to many people during the financial crisis. Can you tell me more about that difficult time in your life?
A: It was difficult, embarrassing and humbling. When I was laid off by GE, I felt like I could do anything; sell anything. Then I failed, over and over and over. That humbled me.
For years, I looked back at the money I made doing mortgages — and I was afraid that I would never get back, never do better than I did at the age of 25. But I was also determined to become better and financially secure again.
The couple looked at this living room inside one of the houses they checked out on “American Dream Home.” (FOX Business)
Q: The multiple moves must have been tough on your kids. Can you talk more about that?
A: Our kids were pretty young for most of our moves. Some were not even born yet. We moved 8 times in 11 years. So for my kids, it wasn’t tough, but it was hard on my wife.
“We did become really good at moving. Now, [my wife] never wants to move again.”
When we lived in Portland, Oregon, she had a new baby and no support other than me. That was hard. We also had a hard time meeting people our age with kids.
When we moved back to Utah, her support [system] was a lot better, but packing up and moving every year wasn’t fun. However, we did become really good at moving. Now, she never wants to move again.
Cheryl Casone is host of “American Dream Home” on FOX Business Network, which airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET. This week, she profiled a couple who searched for the perfect home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But there was far more of a personal story than she and her team expected.
Q: Then there were the medical issues [myalgia encephalomyelitis] — my gosh! What does that experience mean to you today? Do you find yourself more grateful for each day?
A: I understand better who I am at my core. I am more than just some total of my intellect, personality, and life experiences. I am a child of God, and my relationship with him has improved.
There is value in me and my relationship with Him that is more than what I do and/or think. I am grateful for every day.
“I am a child of God, and my relationship with him has improved.”
I’m 41 now. I figure I have 10-15 good years left if I get hit with either disease.
I am not sure if they have anything to do with my myalgic encephalomyelitis or if I am at higher risk to develop these diseases. They are genetic, so I am already at risk.
But I do know that I am grateful for every day, and I am working on making my family financially secure in 10 years.
If my condition worsens, then I will have taken care of my family.
If not, then I will just be able to live the good life. Either way, it’s a win.
To learn more about this couple’s search for their American dream home and their story, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it.