UPDATE: PNE Prize Home win changes Mission couple’s life

'No more Freedom 85,' says Carol Ehlers after winning $1.3 million grand prize package.

  • Sep. 12, 2014 11:00 a.m.
Carol Ehler and her husband Ralf (left) share a champagne toast with PNE President and CEO Mike McDaniel inside their new home on Thursday evening.

Carol Ehler and her husband Ralf (left) share a champagne toast with PNE President and CEO Mike McDaniel inside their new home on Thursday evening.

One phone call changed Carol Ehlers plans for the next 30 years.

Last Thursday, Ehlers answered a call from a friend who had some important news to share.

“You b…h! You won the PNE home!” the friend exclaimed.

Out of more than 112,000 entries in the 80th annual PNE Prize Home Lottery, one of Ehlers’ had been selected, making her the winner of a 2,600-sq.ft. decorated house that will soon be moved to a prime Kelowna neighbourhood.

The total value of the prize – which includes appliances, and interior and exterior furnishings – is more more than $1.3 million.

Ehlers says she had a feeling she needed to buy tickets for the annual draw. But when the news came from the friend, Ehlers didn’t know what to think. Word had reached her husband Ralf earlier, and  within minutes of her friend’s call, Ehlers’ phone began lighting up with texts from well-wishers.

“I was like, oh my God!”

Five days later, Ehlers had returned to work, but was having trouble sleeping.

“We’re too excited. Every time you go to sleep, you start dreaming and  it’s like, ‘Is it really true? Is it really true?’

“Things go through your mind on what you’re going to do.”

The plan is to sell the home once it’s moved to Kelowna. Beyond that, she has a whole new life to consider.

Ehlers, who works in the kitchen of a treatment centre, and her husband, who drives bus in Coquitlam, are both in their 50s with kids aged 15, 24 and 28. Before Thursday, retirement was a concept, not an imminent plan.

That has changed.

“I can pay for the kids’ education now, I can pay for weddings,” she said. “We can retire in a couple years. We can retire on time. It’s not going to be ‘Freedom 85.’”

The kids already have plenty of ideas about how the money should be spent, and Ehlers would like a hobby farm.

In the meantime, Christmas plans have been altered with the sudden availability of a brand-new impeccably finished home.

“Hopefully, we’ll have Christmas in Kelowna,” Ehlers said. “No matter what, family will stick together.”