Randy Ecker won the blue 2011 Honda Insight hybrid car that the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department raffled off May 7. A large, expectant crowd listened for two hours as 400 ticket numbers were drawn and their purchasers’ names were announced with gratitude. The last number drawn in the raffle—this time number 267–is the winner. Ecker was not present for the surprise.
Ironically, he had just bought a Honda CRZ, a two-door version of the Insight hybrid he won, the week before. He has since talked to the dealer and is trading in both the CRZ and the Insight for a new Civic.
“The Insight gets great mileage: 50 mpg,” said Ecker, who had driven the car around Crozet some after winning it.
Ecker, who has lived in Western Ridge for six years, has bought a ticket, or two or three, in every fall and spring car raffle the fire department has held since he moved to Crozet. He said he will keep buying tickets, even though he might reasonably conclude that he has had about all the winning luck he can expect. “It’s a great way to support the guys and what they do,” he said. “I play lotteries all the time and this is the first time I have ever won.”
The fire department hosted its traditional pork barbeque and barbequed chicken dinner for ticket purchasers. Folding tables were set up in the engine bays.
Tickets are placed in “pill bottles” to ensure that they can tumble randomly in the orange wire cage, the size of an oil drum, that holds them. Numbers are recorded on a chalkboard as they are drawn. Doug Henley called out the tickets.
Nine other prizes were awarded. The first ticket drawn, number 44, belonged to Robin Hammell and she won $100 in cash. The fiftieth ticket pulled, number 293, belonged to Brenda Yusef and she won $100 worth of goods from Fisher Auto Parts. The 100th pulled, number 284, won Mark Greenfield $100 to spend at Parkway Pharmacy. The 150th ticket, number 302, won Tim and Sarah Henley $100 to spend at Sal’s Pizza. Kevin Knott’s ticket number 240 was pulled as the 200th and he got a $100 gift certificate to Fardowners restaurant.
The crowd thinned as the cage tumbled on and bottles were opened and the names of those who held losing numbers were called out. The losers went home.
At draw 250, David Goolsby’s ticket (number 257) came out and he won a $100 gift certificate from Harris Teeter. Bonnie Kirtley’s ticket number 40 came out at draw 300 and she won $100 worth of whatever from Crozet Great Valu. When the 350th bottle was pulled, it was Jeffrey Northley’s and he won $100 worth of merchandise at Blue Ridge Builder’s Supply. Ticket 127 belonging to Diane and Tommy Harvey was drawn as the next to last, so close to victory, and they won $250 in cash.
The car winner is responsible for sales taxes and titling fees. CVFD president Roger Baldino said the firemen may raffle a pick-up truck next Spring after offering cars in the last few raffles.