Thursday, May 16, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Howie Guja and Frederick Crockett pose for the camera on Thursday, after Crockett learned that he had won $10,000 prize money from Publishers Clearing House. | Shanel Romain
Doris Crockett, a 30-year resident of Bellwood, has been playing the famous Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes for as long as she’s lived in the village.
What’s more, all five of her children have followed her example, playing the sweepstakes online with regularity. Between them all, however, no one had won anything.
That changed on Thursday, when Crockett’s son, Frederick Crockett, 52, became the first person in the Crockett family to be greeted by an enthusiastic Publishers Clearing House prize patrol person.
Howie Guja had come to the Crocketts’ home from New York to deliver the $10,000 prize check that Frederick won, to his mother’s astonishment.
Doris had been the first to answer the door, along with Laya, her 2-year-old great-granddaughter who seemed born for the surprise, her face lighting up, as if on cue, for the cameras.
“We have a little surprise for Fred,” Guja said. “Any idea what this might be about?”
“Yeah,” his mother said, before her son appeared some seconds later.
“You kidding! You kidding!” Fred said, after Guja told him what he’d won. “Oh my God! Man I ain’t never won nothing before.”
It wasn’t because he doesn’t try. In fact, Crockett is so familiar with the sweepstakes — which he plays regularly online (it’s free to enter) — that he knows another prize patrol person, Danielle, by her name.
Some minutes after receiving his check, he pointed to a Proviso Township car that was driving by his home (naturally, the driver slowed down out of curiosity).
“You see that car? I used to think it was Publisher Clearing House,” said Crockett, who added that he’d been playing the sweepstakes for 10 years with no success.
Doris Crockett, her great-granddaughter Laya and Frederick react to news that Frederick had won $10,000 from Publishers Clearing House. | Shanel Romain
Winners of the sweepstakes, Guja said, are chosen at random, with all of the giveaways handled under the supervision of the company’s board of judges.
“PCH has awarded nearly $400 million in prizes and our famous Prize Patrol surprises screaming winners on their doorsteps with oversized checks anywhere from $1,000 to $10 million while TV cameras are rolling,” company officials explained in a statement.
Publishers Clearing House does not take any tax out of the prize cash, Guja said, so reporting the money to the IRS is the responsibility of the recipients.
When asked about his initial plans for the money, Crockett didn’t miss a beat.
“I’m going to buy my mom something,” he said. VFP
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