Local woman is winner in Publisher's Clearing House contest

By Joseph Slacian

A Wabash woman received a $50,000 knock on her door Thursday morning.

Charity Lane was a winner in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. PCH Prize Patrol member Howie Guja surprised her at her home with the prize winning check.

Lane, not surprisingly, was stunned by the news. She said that people would make fun of her for returning the entry forms regularly in the mail, and that she told them that one day it would pay off.

Thursday was that day.

Guja arrived in Wabash shortly after 10 a.m. and stopped at The Love Bug Floral where he picked up a bouquet of flowers and had balloons filled with helium.

He also met with videographer Phil Yunker from Indianapolis. After being hooked up with a microphone and having a sound check, Guja filled a brief introduction to the video being filmed for the occasion.

Once completed, the group headed to the Lane home where they strategically parked down the street. Guja removed the flowers, balloons, a giant ceremonial check and the real check for Lane, all the while hoping someone was home to answer the door.

Winners receive no advance notice, Guja told The Paper of Wabash County. If they’re not home, they check with others to see when they might be home or if they are at work. If on the job, they will go to the jobsite to deliver the prize. If necessary, they will return to the home later in the day to deliver the prize.

After arriving on the porch, he knocked on the door. The knock was greeted by a few loud dog barks.

“I hear a dog barking,” he quipped as he waited.

A moment later, he knocked again and then said, “I see a curtain moving,” as he peered through the door’s window. A moment later, Josh Lane, Charity’s husband, opened the door with a somewhat puzzled look on his face.

Guja asked if Charity lived at the address and if she was at home. A few seconds later, a shout of “Is that Publisher’s Clearing House,” came from inside and a startled Charity came outside on the porch.

Guja presented her with the flowers, balloons and the oversized check. He asked her if she had any idea what she would be doing with the money.

She said her daughter will be graduating from high school this year, and some of the funds will go to help her with college.

“And a vacation,” she added. “My husband and I never had a honeymoon.

“I really appreciate this. This is the biggest surprise of my life.”

Guja then presented Charity with the actual check.

“I told you returning those (entry forms) would pay off,” Charity told her husband. “He told me I was nuts. I said, ‘Nobody returns mail. Nobody returns mail. I’m returning this mail.”

This was the first time Charity had every won a prize with Publishers Clearing House.

“You’re starting pretty large,” Guja told her.

Asked what advice she might have for others, she said, “Return the mail. That’s all it takes is returning mail and stamps. I know it’s old school, but you can do it.”

After the presentation, the Lanes filmed comments for possible use in a Publishers Clearning House television commercial.

Founded in 1953 by Harold and LuEsther Mertz as a multi-magazine subscription agency, Publishers Clearing House is a leading interactive media company offering a broad range of products, digital entertainment and services to customers.

The company has awarded nearly $400 million in prizes on the winners’ doorsteps. Prize winners of between $1,000 to $10,000,000 are filmed for possible use in the commercials. The prizes are funded by company revenues, and no purchase is ever necessary to enter or win.

Guja, one of four people on the Prize Patrol, said he awards prizes at least once a week anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.

Some weeks, he said, he delivers two prizes.

Posted on 2020 Jan 28