Spirit Gala Raffle winner to donate winnings back to good causes

2/10/2014


From left, Karen Clark, Mountain States Foundation;
Andy Dietrich, Champion co-owner;
Joe Herman; Pat Holtsclaw, Mountain States Foundation
president; Tim Copenhaver,
Champion co-owner.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Mountain City’s Joe Herman was the lucky $25,000 winner of Mountain States Foundation’s Spirit Gala Raffle – and then he promptly went about giving it all away.

Herman, president and owner of Danny Herman Trucking, won his choice of one of three new cars or $25,000 in cash, provided by Champion Chevrolet Cadillac, and he chose the money. Then Herman said he would donate it to the Johnson County Community Hospital Foundation – which is part of Mountain States Foundation – as well as to four other organizations in the Mountain City area.

“When I bought three of the raffle tickets, I said a little prayer. I said, ‘If I win it, I’ll donate it.’ So you don’t go back on something like that,” he said.

The raffle was part of Mountain States Foundation’s Spirit Gala, which is raising money to outfit the new Radiation Oncology Center at Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC), including purchase of a new linear accelerator that provides extremely precise radiation treatment. The Spirit Gala, Raffle and Prelude events, all held in January, netted more than $200,000. The Foundation’s fundraising goal is $7 million for the Radiation Oncology Center and the total is at about $4.8 million.

Tickets for the raffle were sold at $50 apiece. The prize choices were any one of a 2014 Cadillac SRX, a 2014 Chevrolet Impala, a 2014 Chevrolet truck or the $25,000 cash. This marked the seventh year Champion Chevrolet Cadillac has offered the grand prize for the raffle, and over those years the dealership has given away $75,000 and four new cars.

“It’s just part of this circle of giving where Champion gives so generously to the raffle and then Joe’s the winner and he gives it back to several good causes,” said Pat Holtsclaw, president of Mountain States Foundation. “And we can’t thank Champion enough for all they’ve done to impact health care for the children in this region.”

“We try to do a lot to help kids,” said Tim Copenhaver, Champion co-owner. “The majority of the things we get involved with benefit kids. And with something like pediatric oncology, it’s important for kids who need treatment to be able to stay in this area and go to Niswonger Children’s Hospital for treatment rather than have to go out of state.”

Along with the Johnson County Community Hospital Foundation, the causes Herman will donate to are:

  • Johnson County Community Foundation
  • St. Anthony Catholic Church in Mountain City for their food pantry
  • Summit Leadership Foundation in Johnson City
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Herman said he’s bought tickets to the Spirit Gala Raffle for the last several years. His business gives to various good causes every year. But this was the first time Joe has personally won anything so substantial.

“I just had the lucky number on a football board for a couple of quarters in the Super Bowl ,” he said, laughing, “and after winning the raffle, my friends said, ‘You oughta play the lottery!’ ”

The raffle drawing was held Jan. 26 in Johnson City at The Millennium Centre. Herman was at home in Mountain City with his wife and youngest son at the time, so Holtsclaw quickly called to give him the news.

“When the phone rang, I thought it was a wrong number so I let it go to voice-mail,” Herman said with a smile. “Then when I checked the message, I told my wife, ‘Somebody’s jerkin’ my chain.’ ”

But it didn’t take long to realize he was the winner.

“I was in disbelief,” he said.

On Thursday at the check presentation at Champion Chevrolet Cadillac, Herman shrugged off any praise for himself, saying he was nothing special – “I’m just Joe.”

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