Central Albertans have won big in the 2012 STARS Lottery.
Shari MacDonald, of Delburne, won the Sylvan Lake lottery home worth $905,100 and Ken and Cindy Fenwick, of Red Deer, won the $856,000 Sherwood Park home.
“It really is a blessing from God. There’s no other way to explain it,” said Shari MacDonald, 39, on Thursday after winners were announced for the STARS Lottery, the largest fundraiser for the air ambulance.
MacDonald, 39, said her husband Jeffrey, 38, called her shortly before 9 a.m. to tell her people heard she won.
“Delburne is a small community. One person knows and everybody knows,” she said with a laugh.
Soon afterwards, STARS called, making it official.
STARS Lottery 2012 will award 3,200 prizes worth more than $5.2 million, including homes, vehicles, vacations, electronics, cash, furniture, jewelry, luggage and more.
The five grand prizes, worth $3.7 million, were a truck and fifth wheel, and four furnished show homes — one each in Calgary, Sherwood Park, Lethbridge and Sylvan Lake.
Ken Fenwick, 73, said the most he and his wife Cindy, 70, have ever won before was $100.
“I thought it was a crank call, to tell you the truth. You get all these telemarketing outfits. But it didn’t take long to convince me,” said Fenwick about the call they received from STARS at about 9:30 a.m.
One of the six STARS tickets they bought for $100 was a winner.
“We’ve been supporting STARS for a long time. I wish everyone would.”
Retired from the Canadian military, Fenwick worked at the former CFB Penhold as a civilian firefighter with the Department of National Defence. The Fenwicks have been married for 49 years and have lived in Red Deer since 1977.
They haven’t decided yet if they’ll move into their new home in Sherwood Park.
“We’ll have to go up and take a look and talk about it,” Fenwick said.
MacDonald said she purchased an 18-ticket pack for $250.
“I did buy last year, but I don’t typically buy lottery tickets. I thought it was a very good cause to support.”
Her husband broke his back in 1999 after falling from a climbing wall and was flown by STARS from Saskatoon to Calgary Foothills Hospital.
The MacDonalds were living in Swan River, Man., at the time and he was injured in a small community north of Yorkton, Sask. He was taken by land ambulance to Saskatoon before STARS took him to Alberta.
“Originally, the doctors said that he would never walk again. Within a month he was up and walking with a cane. He’s a walking miracle.”
They have been in Delburne for about four-and-a-half years after living for six years in Fort McMurray.
They run an oilfield excavation company, J&S Oilfield Contracting Inc.
She said they haven’t decided if they will live in the Sylvan Lake lottery home.
“I have no idea. I just found out so I’m totally shocked.”
And she has yet to visit her prize.
“I have not been to that house. I know what it looks like from the website and that’s it.”
STARS, a non-profit, flies an average of four missions a day and the lottery raises $10 million annually to help pay wages, maintenance, fuel, communications, training, insurance and facility rent.
The complete list of winners will be available on Wednesday on the STARS website. All winners will receive notice by mail.