Winners of first vaccination lottery announced in West Virginia Day ceremony

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginians marked West Virginia Day with multiple celebrations around the state on Sunday.

For some individuals vaccinated for the coronavirus, it was a West Virginia Day like no other.

Gov. Jim Justice and first lady Cathy Justice announced the first winners of the “Do It For Babydog: Save a life, Change your life” sweepstakes, in which people who received at least one vaccine dose were eligible to win $1 million and other prizes.

The effort was named after the governor’s English Bulldog, who joined the Justices for a ceremony on the steps of the state Capitol.

The lottery was an attempt to motivate unvaccinated West Virginians to receive the shots. The state will stop taking new registrations for its “Beat 588 Bad” program on Sunday at 11:59 p.m, in which people between the ages of 16 and 35 can receive either a $100 savings bond or a $100 gift card.

“If you choose to not get vaccinated, you can’t get in the drawings today and you can’t get in the drawings in the next few weeks, and absolutely, that’s a shame,” Justice said.

“You’re in a drawing right now if you choose not to get vaccinated, and the drawing is the drawing for your life.”

The governor and the first lady announced the prizes winners, in which most people attended Sunday’s ceremony:

— The $1 million prize: Karen Foley of Mineral Wells.
— Custom-outfitted trucks: Melissa Spivy of Vienna and Ralph Paugh of Parkersburg.
— Full four-year scholarships to any West Virginia public institution: Rebecca Osborne of Hurricane and Elizabeth Ball of Nitro.
— Lifetime hunting licenses: Geneva Blake of Washington; Christopher Harvey Jr. of Maben; Sabrina Morrison of Huntington; Dickie Roberts of Lewisburg; and Shirley Young of Bomont.
— Lifetime fishing licenses: James Browning Sr. of Dry Branch; Sharon Cope of Frankford; Andrew Humphreys of Charleston; Joshua Rakosi of Morgantown; and Cathy Osborne of Rainelle.
— Custom hunting rifles: Charles Moats of Philippi; Heather Petry of Scott Deport; Bryan Price of Hurricane; Christy Reger of Nutter Fort; and Justin Myers of Hurricane.
— Custom hunting shotguns: Xavier Alston of Fairmont; Stephen Barberio of Clarksburg; Deborah McNews of Princeton; David Shipman of Wheeling; and Bonnie Taylor of Montcalm.
— State Park weekend getaways: Thomas Binns of Elkins; Gerald Boone of Prichard; Carol Burge of Moundsville; Brandon Cork of Wellsburg; Victoria Dennison of Davisville; Deborah Dickens of Reynoldsville; Keith Ewing of Hico; Kevin Ford of Charleston; Bonnie Gibson of Princeton; Cathy Harless of Charleston; Edith Harrison of Parkersburg; Lisa Hewitt of Kearneysville; Kimberly Jackson of Princeton; Beverly Machir of Nitro; Travis Persinger of Fayetteville; Lana Plymale of Kenova; Wesley Runyan of Cross Lanes; Mary Anne Seckel of Morgantown, Jeff Sine of Falling Waters; Ronald Smith III of Huntington; Jason Thompson of Mount Hope; Caroline White of Fairmont; Lindsay White of Elkview; Jessica Workman of Crawley; and Jamie Young of Wheeling.

West Virginians who are 12 years older and older can receive vaccine doses.

Additional lottery drawings will take place weekly. The final drawing will take place Aug. 4, in which there will be a grand prize of $1.588 million and a $588,000 second prize.

Sunday also marked the end of the statewide mask mandate. The governor altered the order in May to require only unvaccinated West Virginians to wear facial coverings in public settings.

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