By Logan Smith

(CBS4) – The sun rose as usual Wednesday. Pamela Jonker sat down to a fresh cup of coffee and logged on to the world wide web to peruse the day’s events, as she normally does.

Then came the unexpected: A knock at the door.

When she opened it, Jonker was surprised by a camera crew and a man holding colorful balloons who wanted to give her a poster-size check with a bunch of zeros on it.

“I think I need to sit down and let this sink in,” Jonker said.

This wasn’t an average morning after all.

Howie Guja of the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol was on her doorstep in Eagle to present her prize and record her reaction.

Jonkers, being a regular visitor to the Prize Patrol’s website, recognized him. She told the Vail Daily she has entered the Publisher Clearing House sweepstakes every day for 40 years.

That’s part of her morning ritual, too.

The company has given away nearly half a billion dollars in prizes since 1953.

“Publishers Clearing House gives away prizes of all dollar amounts about every 10 minutes,” Guja told the Vail Daily, “but the Prize Patrol hits the road to give out the larger amounts. Anything $10,000 or above, there’s a good chance we’re coming to your house and we never let people know were coming, we just show up, just like you see on TV.”

(credit: Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily)

Earlier, as Jonkers brewed her coffee, the Prize Patrol crew stopped at the Eagle Market to purchase a bouquet of red roses and fill up its logo’d balloons with helium.

The first thing Jonkers thought of buying with her winnings was a financial planner. But her daughter and two granddaughters that also live in the Vail Valley were also on her mind. They will need to be patient, she said.

“We’ll have to wait until after the pandemic ends to do something.”

Logan Smith