W-B Woman Wins Publishers Clearing House Prize

December 14, 2018
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W-B Woman Wins Publishers Clearing House Prize

NANTICOKE — Maria Oldenski wasn’t home when the famous “Prize Patrol” from Publishers Clearing House showed up at her Wilkes-Barre residence on Thursday afternoon.

So they tracked her down at her sister’s house in Nanticoke to hand-deliver her $25,000 check.

“Are you kidding me?” Oldenski said upon opening the door. “This is like a big Christmas and birthday present altogether.”

Oldenski celebrated a birthday on Dec. 8, but did not want to reveal her age.

Dave Sayer, of Publishers Clearing House, presented Oldenski with a ceremonial oversized check, roses, balloons and a bottle of champagne. He then presented her with a real check.

“You can go shopping tonight,” Sayer said.

When Sayer and a videographer showed up at Oldenski’s home on South Sheridan Street in Wilkes-Barre, her son, Ricky, came outside to inform them she wasn’t home and that she was at her sister’s house in Nanticoke.

Sayer asked him to get the address, but begged him not to ruin the surprise when he called his mother. He noted about 10 percent of the time the winner isn’t home, but they always work to track them down.

Ricky Oldenski called his mom, asked for his aunt’s address, but kept the secret. When Maria Oldenski heard a knock at the door at her sister’s house, she assumed her son was at the door.

She was shocked to see Sayer, his cameraman and members of the local media. Maria Oldenski quickly told her family to come to the door, including her husband Stan, sister Gina Canejo, and sister-in-law, Barbara Murphy.

“This is shocking,” Stan Oldenski said.

Maria Oldenski said she is disabled and her husband worked at Techneglas for many years before it closed down.

Maria Oldenski said her late mother used to enter Publishers Clearing House drawings, but she was skeptical. But she’s been religiously entering drawings this past year, she said.

“This year, I figured I was going to try it. What could it hurt?” she said.

This is the second time the “Prize Patrol” visited Luzerne County this year.

In February, members of the “Prize Patrol” came to town to award Jo-Ann Snyder, 72, of Wilkes-Barre Twp., with a grand prize of $1 million plus $5,000 a week for life and $5,000 a week for life to an heir of her choosing. Snyder’s chances of winning were pegged one in 2.6 billion.

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570-821-2055; @cvbobkal

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