On March 18, the PCH Prize Patrol had an assignment in the beautiful area surrounding Coos Bay, Oregon. It was a spectacular day, sunny and mild, and the views along the Pacific coast were breathtaking.
There was only one thing wrong: Mary Ihry, our winner of $10,000, wasn’t home. This was a real disappointment because Mary is a PCH Super Fan on Facebook, and therefore her prize doubled – from $10,000 to $20,000. Besides the roses, balloons and champagne we had not one but two Big Checks to deliver.
Many of you have asked, “What does the Prize Patrol do if the winner isn’t home?” Usually the solution is simple: We turn to helpful (and excited!) neighbors who tell us where the winner might be — at work, school, shopping or wherever. Yes, the delivery may take a few hours more than planned; but that goes with our job. Rarely is the winner really “away.”
This mission had started routinely. Our flight landed on time; we met our cameraman and local media at Bev’s Flowers in North Bend, then proceeded to the winner’s address. Alas, the house showed no sign of recent activity, and the few neighbors around were unable to give us any clues. We had Tim and Alysha from Coos Bay’s newspaper, The World, with us, but they couldn’t find Mary through their local connections.
After hours of waiting plus a fruitless return to the winner’s house the next day we called a halt to the search and flew home. Before leaving, however, we dropped the Big Checks and champagne back at Bev’s Flowers for safe-keeping and suggested that the roses – still beautiful – be given to charity. Bev said they’d keep their eyes and ears open for Mary Ihry’s whereabouts.
Weeks later two of Bev’s customers saw one of the Big Checks sitting in the flower shop with Mary Ihry’s name on it. “What’s this about?” they asked. “We know that woman and how to contact her!” Bev’s staff was thrilled and said “We’ve been looking for her!” and proceeded to convince the skeptical customers that “It’s really real!” This even made TV news, which you can see at KVAL 13.
As it turned out, Mary was visiting family in Texas but was coming home soon.
Fast forward to Monday, April 7: Mary received her real checks worth $20,000 via overnight mail, then had a surprise visit from The World and KCBY-TV with two Big Checks, more roses and champagne.
Here’s what you readers should take away from this blog:
(1) Become a PCH Super Fan on Facebook, and if you win any prize between $10,000 and $1,000,000, your prize will double.
(2) Don’t let the chance of your being away from home stop you. Enter the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, and if you win you WILL get your Big Check – which could be worth millions – even $7,000 a week for life!
Congratulations Mary! And to all you blog readers, the best of luck!
Prize Patrol Ambassador
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