Kentucky: Winners of ‘Shot at a Million’ Vaccine Incentive

Gov. Beshear Congratulates Second Winners in Kentucky’s ‘Shot at a Million’ Vaccine Incentive Drawing

Governor encouraged Kentuckians to get vaccinated, enter for final drawing

Frankfort, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated the second set of winners in Kentucky’s Shot at a Million sweepstakes, the state’s vaccine incentive program to encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Congratulations to all of our winners!  When you’re the Governor you get to do a lot interesting things, but getting to tell folks they just won a million dollars or that their kid’s education is taken care of, that’s pretty high on the list of duties I look forward to,” said Gov. Beshear. “Now, with the delta variant surging, it’s more important than ever that we talk about why we’re doing this drawing in the first place.  We did it to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.  Everyone eligible should sign up for a vaccine and the remaining drawing as soon as possible.”

The Governor said the second drawing was conducted Thursday, randomly selecting one adult Kentuckian for the $1 million prize and five youth to receive full-ride scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or trade school.

The winner of the $1 million prize is Ginger Schultz from Louisville.  Ginger’s husband, Michael Essen, also attended the news conference Friday.

“I have never experienced anything like this.  It’s shocking because you don’t really think you’re going to win,” said Ginger Schultz.  “Why take a chance at getting very sick and possibly die or even passing it on to someone else?  That’s what my main concern was.  My mom is 85 and she has breathing issues and I have always been very concerned about her getting it or me passing it on to her.”

“The reason we got vaccinated was because it was the right thing to do to protect ourselves and the people around us,” said Michael Essen.  “I really believe getting vaccinated is what we have to do to get out of this tough situation.”

The five Kentucky youth selected for full scholarships are:

  • Shelby Anderson of Louisville
  • Isabella Brozak of Crestwood
  • TJ Ponder of Owenton
  • Reese Johnson of Harrodsburg
  • Julian Sandberg of Ft. Mitchell

Shelby Anderson, who was joined by her parents, Chip and Kate Anderson, and sister Georgia, said:  “As an immunocompromised person, there was no second guessing my decision to be vaccinated.  I took the vaccine unaware of the shot at a million scholarship, and I am so grateful I have the vaccine and I got a scholarship for doing it.  I’m looking forward to the opportunities this scholarship provides me and what those will turn in to.”

Her mother, Kate Anderson, said: “As someone who works in health care I have seen first-hand how devastating COVID can be.  As soon as the vaccine was available to our children, we wanted to make certain we did everything we could to protect our girls and the community that surrounds us.  This scholarship is an added blessing to our family.  We want to offer our gratitude to Gov. Beshear and his team for the grace they are offering us.  We will have a lot more peace of mind around knowing how we will afford college for Shelby.”

Isabella Brozak and her parents, Kimbra and Mark Brozak, sister Madeleine, brother Dane and grandparents Cathy and Tony Cave attended the news conference.

Isabella said:  “I’m so grateful for this opportunity and so thankful for this scholarship.  I think it’s so important to get vaccinated.”

Her parents, Kimbra and Mark, said:  “We are so grateful Isabella has been awarded this wonderful incentive for being vaccinated.  After our family was fully vaccinated, we could relax a little sending our kids to summer camps, activities and returning to school in August.  The scholarship award is the ultimate icing on the cake.  As parents of three children, one who is starting her junior year at UK, we’re very familiar with the investment.  This scholarship is a greatly appreciated gift for our family.  Thank you to Gov. Beshear for promoting both public health and education in our state.  We are truly thankful.”

TJ Ponder was joined by his mother, Thonya Greene, grandparents, Vicki and Melvin Greene, his aunt, Terry Arnce, his uncle, Travis Green and cousin, Taylor Arnce. He said:  “I got the shot so when I go to school I can play football.  Winning the scholarship means a lot to me because my mom is a single mom and it will help us out a lot, so I can go to college or a trade school.”

His mother, Thonya, said:  “This scholarship means a lot to us, as TJ said. I am a single mom of two and this is greatly appreciated.  Everyone get the shot.”

Reese Johnson, who was in attendance with her parents, Sherry and John Johnson, and sister, Rylie, said:  “I would like to thank Gov. Beshear, Lt. Gov. Coleman and all those involved in making this happen.  I consider myself very blessed to have been given this opportunity. I think everyone should be vaccinated, and it’s nice to be rewarded for doing what I think is right! Besides being stuck with a needle, getting vaccinated wasn’t so bad.  I had zero side effects and it’s worth knowing that I am protecting myself, my family and friends.  Get a shot, save a life, it could be yours.”

Her parents said:  “Our family is truly grateful for this opportunity, and would like to thank everyone involved in making this possible.  The scholarship will help Reese realize her childhood dream of becoming a teacher.  We highly encourage everyone that can be vaccinated to get vaccinated.  We allowed Reese to make the decision for herself.  She knew it was the responsible thing to do, and we couldn’t be more proud of her for it.”

Julian Sandberg, the son of Maria Sanders and Kal Steinberg, and grandson of Shirley and Robert Sanders, said:  “I’d like to thank Gov. Beshear for this crazy opportunity and my parents for helping me get the vaccine.  When kids my age were able to receive the vaccine, I got mine as soon as I could because I wanted my life to be normal again and to see my friends.  Now the fact that I won this huge scholarship is completely surreal.  I hope everybody gets vaccinated soon so that the school year goes well, and no one has to worry about COVID anymore.”

His mother, Maria, said:  “The real prize here comes from the vaccine itself – freedom from anxiety and the ability to reclaim our lives from COVID.  And now Julian’s college education is paid for.  It’s icing on the cake.  We can’t believe our good fortune.  I hope folks realize that scientists blessed us all with a miracle, and by saying yes to the vaccine, we move our state and country forward.”

His father, Kal, said:  “Relief from the pressure of paying for college feels like an incredible burden has been lifted.  Knowing that Julian won’t have to take on student loans, and that Maria and I can breathe a bit – it’s truly a gift.  I’m amazed that this reward comes simply from having him vaccinated – something we jumped at the chance to do anyway because it was the right thing to do.  Thank you to Gov. Beshear for always prioritizing the health of Kentuckians and for looking out for kids like Julian.”

Vaccinated Kentuckians still have one more chance to become a millionaire or a scholarship winner.  The remaining incentive drawing will take place Aug. 26, with one millionaire and five scholarship recipients announced the following day.  Those who have not won remain eligible for the final drawing.

Gov. Beshear initially announced the Shot at a Million sweepstakes June 4.  Since then, more than 692,000 adult Kentuckians and more than 40,900 youth have signed up for the sweepstakes.

Permanent residents of Kentucky can enter to win at shotatamillion.ky.gov, if they have received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. $1 million:  Kentuckians 18 and older who have received at least their first dose of a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, may enter to win one of three $1 million prizes.
  2. Full Scholarship:  Kentuckians 12 to 17 years old who have received at least their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may enter to win one of 15 full scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or trade school, which includes tuition, room-and-board and books.