LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4)– The latest Colorado Comeback Cash winner has a Cinderella-like story. Stephanie Ward says she and her husband Brian were working two jobs each while raising two teenagers before their lives were changed forever –not by a glass slipper but the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Just sitting at my desk and got a phone call,” says Ward, of Littleton, who was at work when she learned she was a millionaire, “I still am in just disbelief.”
She’s among more than 3 million Coloradans who are eligible for the cash because they’ve been vaccinated. Ward says she didn’t even know about the drawing, but she did know a lot about the vaccine.
“We were not on board and kind of just did some research and wanted to make sure that it was the right thing for our family.”
Gov. Jared Polis hopes other Coloradans, who may be on the fence about the vaccine, will follow her lead.
“The kind of discussion that Stephanie had around her kitchen table, I encourage other Colorado families to have. If you haven’t vaccinated yet, just look at the science, look at the data.”
If that’s not enough, Polis hopes the possibility of $1 million will be. Most people, he says, plan to get vaccinated — eventually.
“I get that because I’m like that with the dentist, I put it off. They say I should go every year and it winds up being maybe every 2 years. I get that. But this is a really serious thing and you should find 20 minutes this weekend to get vaccinated. And, you could win $1 million like Stephanie did.”
The new millionaire says she plans to pay off debt, save for college and quit one of her two jobs.
“I think we’ll probably be taking a beach vacation for myself,” Ward said.
She says she didn’t get vaccinated for money but for protection.
“But I’ll take the $1 million.”
There will be three more drawings for $1 million and 20 more drawings for $50,000 college scholarships for those ages 12-17. The governor says they’ve seen an 8% increase in vaccinations since Colorado Comeback Cash started. He says it’s a better return than they would have seen if they’d spent the money on ads and billboards encouraging vaccinations.
He says 60% of Coloradans are now vaccinated and it’s making a difference. Counties with the highest vaccination rates, he says, are seeing the lowest infection rates.
Anyone who wants a free vaccine can now get it. There are walk-up and drive-up clinics across the state.