Last summer when Michelle Finney's mother was a patient at Saline Memorial Hospital, she had several opportunities to see the 2012 GMC Acadia parked near the hospital entrance.
The car was at the site to promote an upcoming fundraiser for the SMH Foundation and the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The promotion for the vehicle, being donated by Everett Buick GMC, involved selling $100 chancesâ€” 500 of them â€” to raise money for the effort.
"My mother (Paulette Roth of Bryant) was in the hospital in June and July, and my sister-in-law and I walked past the car many times during that period," she said. "Ever since I saw it the first time, we started calling it 'my car.'
"I just had a feeling I'd win it," she said. "I was very hopeful."
She said she purchased one ticket during her mother's hospitalization, then purchased two additional ones the final weekend of the promotion.
"My parents are so excited that I won the car," she said. "They actually encouraged me to buy two more tickets."
In addition to Roth, the parental group for Finney includes her father and stepmother, Burton and Heather Duze.
"All of them encouraged me to buy more tickets," she said.
"And three is my lucky number," Finney added, noting that the sequence of events leading to her win gives credence to the belief.
"I had three tickets; my place in the drawing was 9, which is a multiple of three; and when I turned on the engine, there were 33 miles on it."
Finney said she doesn't have the vehicle in her possession yet, but the additional wait has only added to her excitement.
"We're waiting for the certificate of title to be returned from the Revenue Department to the SMH Foundation," Finney said. "Whenever they get it, they'll transfer it to me."
The car will meet a real need in her life, she added.
"When we pulled up to the event on the day of the drawing, my van had 212,178 miles," she said. "I've been driving it for 10 years."
And there are plenty of occupants waiting to ride in the car.
"I have five kids â€” three still at home â€” and one grandchild," she said.
"We're members of Fellowship Bible Church and on Wednesday nights I drag as many kids there as I can pack into my van.
"It was starting to get tired," she said. "Every week something was going out â€” a taillight, the fuel pump."
Though they needed a new vehicle, the Finneys didn't think this was the opportune time to make that kind of major purchase.
"My husband is in the construction industry and we weren't really comfortable about buying another car right now, so winning the car is a real blessing."
She pointed out that the car has an additional bonus: It seats eight. "That's one more than my van."
Finney is office manager for Image Homes in Bryant and her husband, Roger, is project manager for Stallman Construction.
The Finneys reside in Benton, but their children attend Bryant schools. She is president of the Bryant Rotary Club and currently is serving on the board planning the second annual Starlight Gala to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Bryant.
In addition to Finney, finalists in the car give-away were Margie Sossamon, Elizabeth Cooper, Marion Little, Brad Newcomb, Nancy McGraw, Jami Bateman, Norman Caldwell, Vera Ferguson and Peggy Smith.
"I'm really grateful to be the winner," Finney said. "And having to wait for the car has just made the excitement last longer."
The 10 finalists were introduced toward the end of the two-day fundraiser. Matt Brumley, director of the SMH Foundation, pointed out that "every one of them is a winner because they're contributing to the hospital and local businesses.â€ť
Brumley also expressed appreciation to all the participating businesses and especially to Everett Buick GMC "for showing their dedication to our community during this season of giving."