Eyewitness News is paying one lucky viewer's mortgage for a whole year following a life-changing contest by WFSB this fall.
Jennifer Garten of Farmington is not used to winning things and did not believe she won WFSB's "Pay your Rent or Mortgage for a Year Contest."
"We don't win things," she told Eyewitness News. "A little skeptical. I said 'honey, are they fishing for information? Is this legal? How did you get this information?'"
Garten had to be convinced she actually won and had to be told three times.
This week, she signed all the paperwork at the WFSB studios and received $21,000 worth of mortgage payments. For Garten, it didn't sink in until meteorologist Scot Haney entered the room.
"It's amazing, congratulations," he told Garten. "A mortgage for a year, oh my God."
Until recently, Garten has been a single mother and raised her four daughters for 10 years alone.
"She works really hard to give us what we want," said her daughter Natalie Pantelopoulos. "She tries to do everything for us so things can be good."
Garten recently fell in love again and purchased a home in January. In May, she was married in the backyard. However, bills have continued to pile up.
"We have the mortgage, car payments, car insurance, raising four kids," she said. "And they eat a lot."
With mortgage payments gone for a year, Garten said her family will focus on the kitchen floor and cabinets among other items.
"It's a great big kitchen, but it's a little outdated," she said. "It frees up a lot so we can plan a bit better and make everyone a little more satisfied."
The girls are just happy that some of their mother's stress is now gone.
"I don't know a lot about a mortgage, but I know it's a lot," said her daughter Alexandra Pantelopoulos. "She gives us the world and she doesn't have money to spend on herself because she gives it all to us. So it's special for her."
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