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Rich man, Pohrman, sweepstakes relief.

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard

"How do you pronounce your last name?" Todd Sloan, a senior vice president with Publishers Clearing House, asked Eugene's Samuel Pohrman.

"Poor-man," Pohrman said rather matter-of-factly.

"You gonna change it now?" Sloan asked.

The 62-year-old retired furniture deliveryman just smiled and chuck- led to himself as reporters and the navy-blue-blazered employees from the direct marketer of discount magazine subscriptions broke into laughter while gathered around the front porch of his one-story, white-clapboard house in the Glenwood area. After all, Pohrman was in a pretty good mood, having just been surprised Monday afternoon with the news that he'd won a $1 million "SuperPrize" in the company's most recent sweepstakes.

Asked by a television reporter what he would do to celebrate, Pohrman said: "Probably take my family out to dinner."


"Probably Denny's, or someplace like that," he said.

Ah, the high life.

Although presented with a large, cardboard $1 million check by Dave Sayer, the head of Publishers Clearing House's famous "Prize Patrol" that had pulled into Pohrman's driveway moments earlier, Pohrman actually received an official check for $25,000. He will have several options for receiving the money, from 29 annual payments of $25,000 with a balloon payment at the end, or getting it all now, which would be a "lump sum" closer to $500,000 after taxes, Sayer said.

It was the 45th time since 1967 that the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company had awarded a cash prize of $1 million or more. It was the first time someone in the Eugene-Springfield area had won a "SuperPrize" from the company, Sayer said.

"I didn't think nothing about it, he's been entering these contests for so long," said Judy Pohrman, Samuel's wife, still in a state of shock as she stood with her husband on the porch, clutching a bouquet of red roses that came with the check.

"I'm about to have a heart attack," said Samuel Pohrman, who had to give up his job with Brenner's Furniture in 1997 after having quintuple-bypass surgery. "I'm flabbergasted. This is a dream come true."

He said he will use the money to pay off bills and maybe move into a better home. The Pohrmans live with her mother, 83-year-old Natalie Stott.

Asked why Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's old sidekick on "The Tonight Show," didn't deliver the check to the Pohrmans, Sayer said: "That's a common mistake. He never had anything to do with us."

McMahon, now 81, was actually once the celebrity face, along with Dick Clark, of American Family Publishers, which filed for bankruptcy a few years ago.

The Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol was accompanied by employees from a New York City video production company, Primalex Video. Primalex routinely films the moment sweepstakes winners hear the news at their doors; another crew shot the Pohrman's surprise moment for a national television commercial that aired Monday night during the `NBC Nightly News.'

The crews met reporters at a Eugene flower shop before arriving in a caravan at the Pohrmans' home. Jeff Schwartz of Primalex told some of the better stories that comes from filming hundreds of such moments for more than a decade.

`The `Towel Girl' was probably the best,' Schwartz said, describing the moment about five years ago when a teenage girl answered the door in the tiny town of Louisiana, Mo., wearing nothing but the towel she had wrapped around her after taking a shower.

"She's just shaking," Schwartz remembered. "Not because she's cold, but because she's just freaking out. Her mother won."


Dave Sayer of the Publishers Clearing House awards $1 million to unsuspecting Glenwood resident Samuel Pohrman and his wife, Judy, on Monday. "Probably take my family out to dinner. Probably Denny's, or someplace like that." - SAMUEL POHRMAN, `SUPERPRIZE' WINNER
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Title Annotation:General News; A retired Glenwood deliveryman gets a $1 million surprise from the famed Publishers Clearing House `prize patrol'
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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