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Gun bash winner denied her prize

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By Michael Cope
Friday, Oct. 20, 2006
 

State police are sorting out a dispute between a Vanderbilt woman and the Indian Creek Valley Mountaineers Parents Association, which did not honor her winning raffle ticket during a recent fundraiser.

Bonnie S. Hollis, 41, claims she won a Remington rifle valued at more than $525 during the annual gun bash held by the association, but was denied the prize.

The numbers were drawn Oct. 2 to Oct. 6 in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Lottery. Hollis' ticket hit Oct. 5, she said.

Charles Rahmig, president of the parents association, said the ticket was not honored because the seller did not return the ticket proceeds or the stubs.

"We called several times and left messages and all kinds of requests with the children," Rahmig said. "We told the parents several times the tickets would be invalid if the money was not turned in."

The ticket was sold by Wayne Ohler, whose son -- Hollis' grandson -- plays for the youth football league.

"Their only effort to pay for the tickets came after the gun was won," Rahmig said. "We were really disappointed, but we had to inform them we have to have the money and tickets in hand before the drawing."

The money and tickets were due Sept. 26, Rahmig said.

"We're running this more like a business than an unstructured organization," Rahmig said. "In the past, some very kindhearted people were taken advantage of by people interested in stealing from youth. There is a real problem in our area pursuant to how people view fundraising," he added.

Money from the 1,000 tickets sold for the Bash comprises about 50 percent of the ICV Mountaineers budget. The organization provides financial support to the Connellsville Booster Football League, which serves students in first through seventh grade.

The money is for equipment and prizes, as well as for children whose families cannot afford league dues.

"We've had significant problems in the past, so we changed our procedures -- including this one," Rahmig said.

As for Hollis, she said she just wants her prize.

"When you sell a ticket, you are supposed to stand behind it," she said.

The gun, Rahmig said, will be held for a future raffle.

Police have labeled the case as an alleged theft with Hollis as the victim. The investigation is continuing.

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