Falmouth woman wins Nova Scotia’s largest 50-50 prize, becomes millionaire
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FALMOUTH, NS – The reality of winning what is being called the biggest 50-50 prize ever in the province is yet to be fully grasped by a new millionaire from Nova Scotia.
Kayla Eldridge of Falmouth won the Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50 draw on December 22nd. She found out when her phone rang that evening.
“At first I didn’t want to answer because it was about Amherst, Nova Scotia, and I said, ‘I don’t know anyone from Amherst,'” Eldridge said.
However, she decided to pick it up and was shocked to be told she had won $1,467,620. Eldridge bought their tickets to support the Hantsport Fire Department who will collect the bonus from the raffle.
She said she’s played the Firefighters 50-50 before, but not in months. She is happy to support the fundraiser as it is for a good cause. Volunteer firefighters are an important part of the community and committed to helping others.
Eldridge said on Dec. 29 that winning the award feels a bit surreal and that it hasn’t really come through yet. Her family and friends are very happy for her.
She celebrated Christmas at home as she normally would and said she felt lucky to have had the day off work. The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) has no plans to retire and has even taken on some extra shifts after Christmas. Eldridge is a part-time student at St. FX working toward her Registered Nurse (RN) certification.
Eldridge traveled to Amherst on December 27 to collect her check. She plans to get a new passport so she can travel, and she will likely use some of the money to buy or build a new house.
Paul Maynard, an assistant fire chief with the Hantsport Fire Department, said Eldridge’s award win was “amazing.” The members of the fire brigade are very happy and excited for her and congratulate her. He said it means a lot to the department and the community when a local player wins.
Maynard said he started getting text messages saying “Congratulations” on the evening of December 22, and he thought someone in his family might have won. He checked his computer and saw that the congratulatory messages were for the Hantsport Fire Department who will receive the $1,000 prize draw bonus.
“The lottery in general has been a huge success for the fire service, not just here in West Hants and Kings but across the province,” Maynard said.
Lottery makes a difference
As with other Nova Scotia fire departments, Maynard said the Hantsport division receives 36 percent of the proceeds from all tickets purchased in support of the division.
He congratulated the Amherst Firefighters Association on initiating the 50-50 lottery. It was an innovative way for fire departments to continue raising money during the COVID-19 pandemic when traditional fundraisers were not an option.
The Hantsport Fire Department has received approximately $79,000 to date from the Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50, with more to come. The support has led to positive changes.
Hantsport has reinvested in the fire service and taken some of the financial burden off taxpayers, he said. The department has used the money to buy or replace equipment; bought fire protection materials; and has used part of the funds to pay for the facility needed at Hantsport’s new fire station.
The department recently purchased a new rehabilitation trailer to be used in responding to emergency calls in West Hants, Kings and beyond.
“This is to help firefighters recover from the physical and mental challenges of a serious incident,” Maynard said.
This could include, for example, keeping firefighters warm in cold weather, keeping cool in hot weather, or providing medical surveillance or nutrition.
For more information on the Nova Scotia Firefighters 50-50 Jackpot or to purchase tickets, visit www.firefighters5050.com (www.rafflebox.ca/raffle/nsfd).