Eagle woman wins $1 million prize from Publishers Clearing House | VailDaily.com

Eagle woman wins $1 million prize from Publishers Clearing House

Prize patrol comes to Eagle County to deliver the big check

Pamela Jonker is presented with a $1 million check from the Publishers Clearing House Wednesday in Eagle. Jonker had entered regularly and said she never thought she'd actually win and was astonished when she did.

What would you do with a million dollars right now?

That’s what one Eagle County resident had to ask herself after she was surprised by the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol at her home in Eagle on Wednesday afternoon.

Pam Jonker was the lucky recipient of a $1 million check from the sweepstakes company that has been around since 1953 and has given away nearly half a billion dollars in prizes to surprised winners right on their doorstep.

Howie Guja of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol was there with a camera crew to present the check and capture the reaction. The Vail Daily met the Prize Patrol at the Eagle City Market to pick up the signature bouquet of red roses the winner receives and to fill up some Publishers Clearing House logo’d balloons with helium.

“Publishers Clearing House gives away prizes of all dollar amounts about every 10 minutes, but the Prize Patrol hits the road to give out the larger amounts. Anything $10,000 or above, there’s a good chance we’re coming to your house and we never let people know were coming, we just show up, just like you see on TV,” Guja said.

After a knock on the door, Jonker appeared and since she is a regular visitor to the Publishers Clearing House website, she recognized Guja from the Prize Patrol and saw the big check with a dollar sign and a one and many zeros behind it.

“I think I need to sit down and let this sink in,” Jonker said.

Jonker has lived in the Vail Valley for the past 15 years and has a daughter and two granddaughters in Eagle County. When asked if she’d treat the granddaughters to something special, Jonker said, “Well, we’ll have to wait until after the pandemic ends to do something.”

Jonker starts her day early with a cup of coffee and logs onto the website and enters everyday. She’s been entering contests with Publishers Clearing House for over 40 years.

“Ever since Ed McMahon was doing it,” Jonker said.

Guja said that many people believe Ed McMahon was part of the Publishers Clearing House giveaways, but McMahon actually worked for a competitor, American Family Publishers, which is no longer in business.

Publishers Clearing House is still going strong and has a big giveaway campaign next month where it will give someone $5,000 per week for life and then that person can pass on that $5,000 per week to an heir to receive for the rest of their life. Check out the latest promotions for the sweepstakes that feature Marie Osmond and Brad Paisley. The winner will be announced on NBC on Feb. 28.

Still in shock, Jonker said she had no immediate plans for the money and that she would first need to talk to a financial advisor, but she did have this bit of advice.

“Just keep entering, you never know if you might win.”

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