Oak Island woman wins $10,000 in GateHouse Media sweepstakes


Melissa Girard said she often ignores similar emails. But she didn't ignore this one.

The GateHouse Media Blockbuster Bucket List Sweepstakes was offering the chance to win everything from a luxurious getaway to $10,000 in cash. So she clicked and she entered. Again and again.

For more than a week, the Oak Island resident had her eye on that $10,000 prize. On Oct. 1, she learned that she won.

"It's hard to believe," she said. "It still doesn't feel real."

But real it is. On Wednesday, she came to the StarNews' post-hurricane home in downtown Wilmington to pose with a large check and balloons.

So far, she and her husband, Gordon Girard Jr., have practical plans for the money. Like many others, the couple has been out of work due to Hurricane Florence. They evacuated from Brunswick County to Florence, S.C., to stay with relatives and had a difficult time getting back to the area. Also, due to recent medical issues, Girard hasn't been able to work at her job behind the front desk of the Ocean Crest Motel in Oak Island. The bills have been piling up.

"I'm thrilled," she said. "This will help out a lot."

More than 200,000 entries came in to GateHouse newspapers across the country. Other prizes were airfare, tickets and hotel stays for trips to the Super Bowl, a NCAA college football game, the Daytona 500, a Red Sox Baseball game, New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, the 2019 Masters Tournament, a Hawaii vacation, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the South by Southwest Music Festival.

"This was our biggest contest to date where we gave away 10 mega-prizes that are often on folks' bucket lists," said Rebecca Capparelli, vice president of promotions for GateHouse Media.

The Bucket List sweepstakes was GateHouse Media's most successful promotion ever. The cash prize was the most popular answer for people entering the sweepstakes, followed by the Hawaii trip and the Super Bowl trip.

"And best of all, we have many more opportunities for our readers to win coming soon," Capparelli said.


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