It turned out to be quite a memorable Fourth of July for Carter County resident Deborah Tanner, who was named the winner of a new car at Wednesday’s Independence Day celebration in Johnson City.
Tanner, a Stoney Creek resident and and employee of Ivy Hall Nursing Home in Elizabethton, won a new 2012 Ford Fiesta at the Independence Day celebration held at the Freedom Hall Civic Center. She referred to the prize as a “blessing,” as the single mother of four was without a vehicle of her own.
“I’ll put it this way. I’m driving my son’s truck,” she said. “I don’t even have a car, so it’s very needed and it’ll give me some stability now that I don’t have to borrow his car.”
Tanner and her children, who range in ages from 13 to 20, were at Erwin Motors on Thursday to sign the paperwork on her new car, which was given away as part of a joint venture between IGA Supermarkets, Pepsi and Erwin Motors. Todd Love, owner of Erwin Motors, said IGA and Pepsi approached his dealership several months ago to see if it would be interested in being involved in the car giveaway.
Those interested in taking part in the contest registered at IGA stores, Erwin Motors, the WXBQ office, and at the Freedom Hall celebration event. The field was narrowed down to 15 finalists, with 10 finalists coming from Pepsi and IGA, three from WXBQ, one from Erwin Motors, and one from the celebration.
The 15 finalists were called to the stage at the event, each accompanied by a sponsor. Each finalist was given a can of Pepsi, which was to be poured into cups held by the sponsors. Fourteen of the cans actually contained Pepsi, while the remaining can contained Sierra Mist. The finalist with the can containing the Sierra Mist would be named the winner of the new automobile.
But Tanner said she almost didn’t make it to the contest. She was scheduled to work until 6 p.m. that day. She said the last co-worker she could find to ask about switching schedules agreed to do so, allowing her to attend the celebration.
“It was fate for her to get it, I think,” Love said.
And Tanner admitted that she could hardly contain her excitement when Sierra Mist flowed from the can in her possession.
“I’d say maybe a couple of drops went in the cup,” Tanner said. “The rest went all over my sponsor.”
Love said he was pleased to work together with the other companies and said he hopes to continue to take part in the event in the future.
“It’s a really good deal to give somebody a new vehicle,” he said. He also said he was happy to see Tanner win the car.
“I’m just really, really pleased with the outcome because I feel like the young lady who won it was really deserving,” Love said.
Tanner was also obviously pleased.
“God answered my prayers,” Tanner said. “I really did need a car.”