I’ve been a television broadcaster for over 20 years, so going in front of a camera is second nature to me, like breathing. And I sometimes forget that the families and couples we feature on “American Dream Home” have never been on television.
I’m in awe of Dustin, introduced to viewers this week during another episode of “American Dream Home.”
Dustin was young when he fell into addiction — but this week, he was brave enough to share with our viewers how he overcame a troubled past.
That, to me, is the American dream. You’re given a second chance in our country — and Dustin was able to take that ball and run with it.
I caught up with him and his beautiful wife Amy to see how they’ve settled in to their new home, how the kids are doing — and if they enjoyed watching themselves on national television.
Seeing couples like Dustin and Amy chase their dream — and find the perfect home — is so thoroughly enjoyable!
Here’s some of what we discussed.
Question for Dustin: Dustin, how is the business going? I had a feeling you were going to pick the home with enough space for your exercise equipment. Tell me more about your journey of becoming an entrepreneur.
Answer from Dustin: Becoming an entrepreneur and business owner was pretty much an accident. I had helped some friends with some shirts and apparel for my own [sports] team and they gave me some equipment they were not using.
A year or so later, we were headed to a softball event and didn’t have matching shirts. So I got the equipment working, made our team shirts — and at the tournament, other teams started asking where we got them.
I explained that I’d done them — and from there, people started asking me to do the apparel for them. It kind of snowballed from there.
I was working at a nonprofit drug, alcohol treatment and intervention program as a counselor from Mondays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. [So] I would come home, have dinner with Amy and then work at Doerflinger Athletics from 8 p.m. or so until the wee hours of the morning — and do it all over again.
Eventually, Doerflinger Athletics grew to the point where I was working essentially two full-time jobs. I spent my Fridays off from the counselor job printing shirts or embroidering hats — as well as weekends and evenings.
I was planning on leaving the counselor gig to take care of Julia [the couple’s youngest daughter] when she was born and [running] the business. Then, the Christmas before she was born, the company had to restructure for funding purposes and laid everyone off.
Since then, I’ve been taking care of my [two] girls and running the business full time. The flexibility of working at home and being a business owner has allowed me to spend time with the girls as well as be involved their schools, etc.
Q: You were so honest about your journey from recovery. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from that experience?
A: Some of the biggest lessons I have learned in recovery is to not [let it] be a secret. Everyone has trials and tribulations, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, living situations or work [issues] … It’s easy to stay in those situations or revert to them if the people around you are kept in the dark.
Having a good support system that can hold you accountable, ask if you’re OK, tell you when it’s maybe time to seek out resources … [this] helps.
Amy’s great at celebrating my recovery birthday and reminding me how important it is. It also helps that it’s not a secret — it helps eliminate the stigma that I feel like is slowly fading around addiction.
Q: What types of activities have you been doing since moving in to the new house?
A: We have been paddleboarding and kayaking. We even bought each of the girls their own kayaks. We enjoy going on the boats and going fishing.
The girls have their favorite beach to boat to in order to go swimming and see the dolphins. [Our] family loves coming out to enjoy the house and water with us.
Q: What was it like filming with our crew? Was it what you expected?
A: The crew was amazing and we had a lot of fun and laughs. It was also interesting to learn what the production crew thought was important or would be key pieces [of the story].
Question for Amy: What was it like filming with our crew? Is it what you expected?
Answer from Amy: I was not sure what to expect — so I let myself be open to the experience and believe how it went was how it was supposed to go. We found the crew to be so personable and fun … They even let Julia behind the scenes as a “producer” on the last day! She really enjoyed that.
Q: How are the kids doing? Are they enjoying the new place?
A: The girls are loving the hot tub, their “boat bed” room, swimming in the ocean regularly, and learning about and seeing all the loggerhead turtles this summer, [plus] deer, snakes, birds, and gators! So much to explore and learn.
Q: How has life changed since you found your perfect home?
A: We are loving low country living! We have found that we have had more visitors than ever before and we love that.
We love showing our family what makes this area so special. We have a longer commute to church now, yet found some great schools for the girls.
The biggest shift has been how we spend our evenings. No longer are we cramped inside with poor weather — we are outside every chance we get and that is exactly what we wanted.
We have amazing neighbors and community we are building — and that has made this move even more special! We traded mountain views for views of the ocean and feel so blessed to be here.
Q: Do you plan to do any remodeling or work to the home?
A: There are opportunities to personalize the spaces a bit more in the future, such as redoing the laundry room or painting a bathroom. But nothing urgent!
Dustin has been working on the outside and keeping up with grass and landscaping … Together we will continue to dream and care for the assets the Lord has entrusted us with.
I wish to be good stewards of all I have — and feel that we are on the right path.
“American Dream Home,” hosted by Cheryl Casone, airs every Wednesday at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. Eastern time on Fox Business and streams on Fox Nation.