CLEVELAND — Holding an enormous check in his hand, the winner of the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes said as a new millionaire, he planned to get health insurance and take a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art.
It took a moment for reality to set in as the Prize Patrol surprised Rory Bellamy in his Cleveland driveway on Friday afternoon.
He sputtered phrases like, “I can’t believe this,” and, “This is for real?” while surrounded by balloons, roses, television cameras and champagne.
The spectacle drew some neighbors out of their houses, and Bellamy was quick to introduce them and sing their praises.
You could hear the pride in his voice when he talked about two veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and a young couple expecting a child in days.
“These are my friends and neighbors, they’re having a baby this week. That’s a bigger deal than this,” Bellamy said with a smile.
People who know him say Bellamy is just the kind of guy who deserves such a stroke of luck and good fortune.
“Rory … good guy, works every day, takes care of his house, helps his neighbors out. Nice guy, nice guy,” neighbor John Henson said. “You probably couldn’t find a better person to win the money, that’s a good thing for him, happy for him.”
“I’ve been living without health insurance all this time, and now I’ll have some,” Bellamy realized.
Most of the neighborhood and Bellamy’s family members knew he won the prize long before he did.
The Prize Patrol went to his house just before 11 a.m. on Friday, but no one answered the door. They group waited as his family tried to get in touch with the winner.
“They said, ‘Come home in twenty minutes!’ I thought my garage was on fire. I’m glad to see this!” Bellamy said when he understood what the big hurry was.
Bellamy said he plans to continue working as a house painter because he enjoys it, but will likely reduce his hours.
“Been in Cleveland my whole life since 1966 and I really love it here, love Lake Erie,” Bellamy said. “Heard about the Cleveland Arts Museum being improved. I’m gonna stop in for a visit now that I have a little spare time.”
Bellamy submitted his Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes entry over the summer.
He’ll get the rest of the money eventually, but Bellamy was given $25,000 he could deposit immediately.
Publishers Clearing House, which has awarded over $240 million in prizes, is known for surprising its winners by showing up at their homes to deliver the news.