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Lawn Festival winners choose the cash prize

August 9, 2011

David Klender (center) accepts the $15,000 prize from the Sunday evening drawing at the SS.C.D. Lawn Festival from Frank Hetrick (left), festival committee chairman, and SS.C.D. Pastor Msgr. Joseph Riccardo. (Photo submitted)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — And to think, the bright red 2011 Chevrolet Cruze RS LTZ, purchased at Kuntz Chevrolet-Buick, was staring at the front door of Dave and Rita Klender's residence since about May.

The Klenders live directly across from the Ss. Cosmas & Damian Roman Catholic Church rectory, but in the end, as the winners of the grand prize in the SS.C.D. Lawn Festival’s annual drawing, they opted for the $15,000 in cash.

“Well, we have medical expenses, and we really need a car, but Dave and I decided to take the cash,” Mrs. Klender said Tuesday.

Mr. Klender accepted the prize Tuesday from Frank Hetrick, Lawn Festival Committee chairman, and Msgr. Joseph Riccardo.

Like many of the past Lawn Festival grand prize-winners, the Klenders were not present for the late-night drawing.

And like many past Lawn Festival grand prize-winners, they were asleep.

That was until Bernie Annarino, who works with Mr. Klender at Krise Bus Service, arrived at the couple’s doorstep to deliver the news.

“We were sleeping like logs, around a quarter after 11, and Bernie came and rang the door bell,” Mrs. Klender said. “Dave went to the door, and Bernie said, ‘You won, you won!’ I think Dave actually thought he was teasing him.”

After her husband told her the news, “Well, of course, I was up the whole night after that,” Mrs. Klender said. “He said, ‘I won! I won!’ I said, ‘Yes, I made out the ticket.’”

The Klenders, married for 44 years, previously lived in Rochester, N.Y. She is an alumna of SS.C.D. High School, and helped with Lawn Festival tickets for a number of years.

“It’s for the benefit of SS.C.D. School, and that’s a good cause,” she said.

The couple bought two books of tickets to improve their odds, but, “I think one ticket will do it,” Mrs. Klender said. “We were very happy, believe me.”

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