Ashcroft resident Martin Block is not—by his own admission—a car person, but he is now the owner of a car that would be the envy of many: a brand new 2018 Chevrolet Camaro, which he won when his name was drawn out of the barrel for this year’s 25th annual Kamloops & District Crime Stoppers car raffle.
“I was more surprised than anybody,” Block says. Crime Stoppers released the audio of Block receiving the phone call in August telling him he had won, and his initial reaction is skeptical, to say the least. It takes the caller a couple of tries to convince Block that it isn’t a hoax.
“I get so many scam calls that I’m almost at the stage where I let phone ring,” explains Block. “If I do pick up the phone and there’s no answer, I hang up. And how often do you win anything? What are the chances? It was sort of out of the blue.
“When I realized that it wasn’t a scam, my reaction was surprise. I’m 78 years old, and I’ve never won anything in my life. It’s not something that happens every day.”
Block purchased his $5 ticket at this year’s Graffiti Days event in Cache Creek, where the raffle car was on display. It was his second visit to Graffiti Days in the six years he’s lived in Ashcroft.
“I went because it was a bit of fun with my neighbour, who is a car guy. He bought three tickets, and I bought one.
“I buy the odd lottery ticket, but not on a regular basis. I only bought a [raffle] ticket because my friend bought one.”
Proceeds from the raffle ticket sales go to suppoKamloops & District Crime Stoppers, a non-profit community-based crime solving program that works in conjunction with the police, the media, and the public to help make communities in the region safer places. The organization has been serving Kamloops and the entire Thompson-Nicola Regional District since 1984, and through anonymous tips has assisted the RCMP in recovering $9.7 million in stolen property and removing $69.9 million in illicit drugs from the streets.
It took some time for the car’s insurance to be sorted out, but Block was able to collect the car in Kamloops on Aug. 29. He says that when Crime Stoppers told him there would be an event planned for when he collected the car, he asked if he would have to make a speech.
“They said ‘no’. Thank goodness for that.”
Asked if he is going to keep the car, Block says he plans to sell it.
“I already have [a car] that works fine, so I’d rather have money in the bank. I’m not a car person, and I’m not into muscle cars. It has a fairly turbo-charged engine, and you’d have to be 18 to 25 to really enjoy it. I’m sure someone who’s into that sort of car will enjoy it.
“At my age, I prefer to drive more slowly. I’m not into speed.”