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Raffle winner headed to Italy
Chamber supporter shocked at news
4 Raffle pic1
Bill Hardman receives his $10,000 grand prize in the chambers annual Reverse Raffle from Chamber President Christie Haynes, right. Pam Hamalainen, left, sold him the winning ticket. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Six years ago, Bill Hardman took his new bride Helen to Italy for their honeymoon.

Thanks to a stroke of good luck Thursday, he's $10,000 wealthier and says he's taking her back in the spring.

Hardman was the grand prize winner of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce's annual Reverse Raffle.

"I'm going to spend it on pleasure, that's number one," he said. "I don't want to spend it on business. Helen and I had our honeymoon in Florence, so that's special to both of us."

Proceeds from the reverse raffle, the chamber's biggest annual fundraiser, support the organization's initiatives to promote business throughout the year.

In her inaugural event as the chamber's new president, Christie Haynes said she was grateful to all who participated.

"We had a great turnout for our Reverse Raffle this year," she said. "A big congrats goes out to this year's Reverse Raffle winner. Mr. Hardman is an ardent supporter of the chamber and the convention and visitors bureau and has a great love for our community."

Hardman, who was attending a political fundraiser Thursday night, was the second consecutive winner who wasn't present at the event.

"I got the phone call on our way home," he said. "Helen was driving and I was just screaming how shocked I was. I was in shock, absolutely shocked."

Hardman bought the winning ticket from Pam Hamalainen, the chamber's membership director.

"She had 15 I guess in her hand and told me to draw one. I almost drew the one on the end, but I picked the one right in the middle instead, and it was the right one," he said.

Hamalainen received a cash prize for selling the winning ticket. Margaret Bowen at Roger Slaton's State Farm was recognized for selling the most tickets, followed by Carla Boutin, who came in second.

Jennifer Baker, who chairs of the chamber's board of directors, said the event was a huge success, raising nearly $8,000 that will be reinvested in the community

"Whether it's the Shop Local initiative, or getting designations as an Entrepreneur Friendly Community and Certified Work Ready community, our fundraisers help support existing and future programs focused on improving the quality of life in Dawson County," she said.

"It was truly great to see so many people come out and support the chamber, and have a great time doing it."