by Dennis Dalman
Mike DeLuca, who never had much luck winning anything, used to daydream about what he’d do if he ever did win something – giving at least some of the winnings to someone else who needs them more than he does.
DeLuca was at home March 25 when he noticed, looking out the window, a red van parked on his street. A woman holding a clipboard got out of the van.
“The first thing that popped into my mind was Internal Revenue Service?” DeLuca recalled. “Did I do something wrong with taxes?”
Then he saw a man with balloons get out of the van.
“Somebody next door must be having a birthday,” DeLuca figured.
A bit later, DeLuca heard knocks on his door.
He opened the door and there they stood, the man and the woman, grinning and giving congratulations. It took awhile for it all to sink in: DeLuca was a winner of Coborn’s Food Club drawing.
“I nearly fell over,” DeLuca said. “I almost never win anything.”
Customers fill out entry forms in the Coborn’s stores. When a name is selected at random from the box, a “prize patrol” goes to that residence. The winner gets a $20 Coborn’s food gift certificate for every “Food Club” or “Top Care” item they happen to have in their home.
The two who came to DeLuca’s home were Ryan Rothwell, manager of the Coborn’s Super Store in Sartell; and Rebecca Korowski, Coborn’s communications manager.
DeLuca rummaged around in his kitchen and found all kinds of Food-Club brand products he’d purchased at the Super Store, where he most often shops for groceries. He found enough of the products, 25 of them, to get the maximum prize – $500-worth of food gift certificates.
After he thanked the prize-patrol people and said goodbye, DeLuca got to thinking, wondering how he could use the gift certificates to brighten up somebody else’s life.
“I live alone and really don’t eat very much,” he said. “I know some people out there are having a hard time.”
A 15-year member of the Sartell Lions Club, DeLuca has been instrumental in good deeds the Lions have done for many years, including the development of Lions Community Park in Sartell and countless other projects to help local people and Sartell schools.
DeLuca decided to give most of the certificates to the Sartell Lions Club. Its members could decide which worthy people should get them. Thanks to a suggestion from Vicki Ray, his mobile-home park manager, DeLuca also plans to talk to police liaison officers in the Sartell schools to find out if they know of some hurting families of students who might need food certificates. And he plans to offer some of the certificates to a military veteran he knows, a man who has had some financial difficulties.
“I had some rough times myself when I moved here many years ago from Connecticut,” DeLuca said. “At one time I was living paycheck to paycheck, like a lot of people, and I’d have about $12 to live on between paying bills, paycheck to paycheck, so I know what that’s like.”
DeLuca is still surprised about his sudden luck. And he’s happy that luck will make a bit brighter day for somebody else.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
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