American Dream Raffle to honor founder’s memory

Over $186,000 in prizes this year.

Tickets are now on sale for the 13th Annual American Dream Raffle, which this year will honor the memory of its founder.

The raffle benefits local charities and offers a grand prize of $100,000.

Patrick Hearlihy, a business manager at Catholic Central, started the raffle as a fund-raiser for the Springfield school. Hearlihy passed away last year in the middle of the event, said Julie Valentine, Co-Chairperson of the raffle.

“We’re doing it this year to honor his memory, and we want to make this year the best year ever,” she said.

There are over $186,000 in prizes this year. Over the past 12 years, $2.1 million in prizes have been awarded.

Valentine said all the money goes back into the community through non-profit organizations. She said 38 charities are participating this year, ranging from Ronald McDonald House, which provides homes away from home for families with hospitalized children, to Luv4K9s, a non-profit animal shelter in Dayton.

“This is a very much local event,” Valentine said. “Just in this area, the odds of winning are very, very good.”

Second prize is $13,000, and third prize is $1,300 for the winner and $1,300 for the winner’s spouse, friend or charity of choice. But those are just the grand prize winners. Cash prizes will be awarded from $1,000 for three fourth-place prize winners all the way down to $250 for 52 eighth-place prize winners. Also, 13 early bird winners will be awarded $500 on March 12 and April 9.

Alfred Kulig from Miamisburg was last year’s big winner. After seven years of entering the raffle and winning $250 a few years earlier, his wife, Cheryl, said they found out when they got four or five calls from the same number.

“My husband never answers the phone ever,” she said, “and I thought it was someone trying to sell us something.”

Alfred Kulig said they didn’t waste any of the money. They put some towards retirement, gave a little to charity, gave some to their children and put some in savings.

Alfred Kulig said he enters the raffle every year and plans to enter again this year.

“I’m usually the first one,” he said. “When I see that ad in the paper, my check goes out.”

Kulig said he feels good about entering every year because he knows all the money goes to charity.

“It goes for a worthy cause, so even if I don’t win, it’s going to a good cause,” he said. “We know that they’ll do good things with it.”

Valentine said the fund-raiser grew when smaller agencies in town asked if they could be part of it.

“We take on all the risk and then share the proceeds with them,” she said. “We provide everything for them and then code it and then they get their share. It helps us grow the event, and then it helps them.”

Valentine said from the beginning, the goal was always to be transparent and above-board. So to make it even more neutral, she doesn’t handle any of the money. Everything goes through the Clark Schaefer Hackett accounting firm, which has offices in Springfield and Dayton.

“We just want to be as open and as fair as possible with this so people know where the money is going,” she said.

A gold ticket costs $129 and provides 10 chances to win. A silver ticket costs $99 and gives five chances to win, and a bronze ticket costs $49 with two chances to win. Participants can order tickets online for a 10 percent discount.

The winner will be announced at the grand prize drawing on May 7.

Order tickets at http://americandreamraffle.com/, by calling the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-970-3121 or visiting one of the walk-in locations, listed at http://americandreamraffle.com/WalkinLocations.htm.

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