News

Simcoe DJ Randy Halmo wins $30,000

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Simcoe DJ Randy Halmo won the $30,000 grand prize Friday in the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise’s Catch The Ace lottery. Congratulating Halmo Tuesday was club representative Gail Catherwood, a member of the lottery’s organizing committee. (MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER)

Simcoe DJ Randy Halmo won the $30,000 grand prize Friday in the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise’s Catch The Ace lottery. Congratulating Halmo Tuesday was club representative Gail Catherwood, a member of the lottery’s organizing committee. (MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER)

SIMCOE  - 

A Simcoe DJ struck solid gold last week.

Randy Halmo, owner of Klassy FM Disc Jockey Services, was the holder of the lucky ticket that won the Catch The Ace jackpot at the Royal Canadian Legion in Port Dover on Friday. His take was a whopping $30,000.

Halmo and his wife Charlaine collected the cheque Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise in Simcoe. Halmo has been on an emotional roller-coaster since he received the news.

“The last 72 hours have been unbelievable,” he said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me yet. I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.”

Halmo says he will pay some bills and take his wife of 26 years on a holiday.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Charlaine Halmo said. “You don’t believe something like this until you have the cheque in your hand.”

This edition of Catch The Ace took nearly a year to complete. The jackpot was so large and the process of awarding it so lengthy because no one pulled the lucky ace until Week 50.

This has been an exhausting year for Norfolk Sunrise and volunteer staff at the Port Dover Legion. However, it has been rewarding.

By virtue of the lottery, Norfolk Sunrise has plowed $100,000 into local projects and causes.

Gail Catherwood of Simcoe, an organizer of the draw, says it is too early to say whether the club will apply for another licence. The campaign has required a lot of effort and everyone at the moment is focused on the holiday season.

“I’d say the chances are 95 per cent that we’ll do it again,” Catherwood said. “It’s just that everybody is tired so we’re just going to leave it until the new year.”

Norfolk Sunrise devoted half the money it raised to community projects as well as expenses incurred operating the lottery. The other half went to weekly prizes and the jackpot itself.

Providing the venue for the weekly draws was good for business at the Market Street Legion. Tuesday, president Ken Beckett said the Legion’s involvement provided benefits “beyond expectations.”

“We provided food and our bar was very lucrative,” he said.

Beckett said it is too early to say whether the Port Dover Legion will be back for a second round.

Beckett said the Legion needed about 15 volunteers a week to accommodate everyone who crowded into the hall. Beckett will have to canvass the membership to determine if that support is still there for another round of draws.

Catherwood is happy for the winners but relieved that the drama is over.

“I went so long wondering `When is someone going to win?’ that I feel like I’ve been in labour and just given birth to a boy,” she chuckled. “I feel good for Randy.”

Norfolk Sunrise was the first local group to organize a Catch The Ace fundraiser. The club secured its lottery licence in November 2016. The first draw was Jan. 6.

Norfolk Sunrise and the Legion sold a total of 400 tickets a week for the duration of the lottery. Each ticket cost $5.

Under the Catch The Ace format, weekly proceedings kick off with the drawing of a winning ticket. In the lottery just completed, the holder of the winning ticket collected $400.

The winner then picks a numbered envelope containing a card from a dedicated deck. If the envelope contains the ace of spades, they win the accumulated jackpot and the lottery is over.

If not, everyone gathers a week later to repeat the process.

Meanwhile, the major jackpot builds from week to week. The deck depletes until someone pulls the lucky card.

-- with files from Michael-Allan Marion

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com