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Woman Wins New Car Lease with Donations to United Way

PLAINS TOWNSHIP — Who wouldn’t like a new ride for Christmas? One woman from Wilkes-Barre will be cruising in style in the new year. Tatiana Simmons...
car winner

PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- Who wouldn't like a new ride for Christmas? One woman from Wilkes-Barre will be cruising in style in the new year.

Tatiana Simmons won a two-year lease on a brand new car Friday morning from Motorworld Toyota.

The announcement happened at Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino near Wilkes-Barre.

Simmons was chosen at random from a group of people who gave a portion of their paychecks each week to the United Way of the Wyoming Valley.

Tatiana moved from Brooklyn two years ago to be with family in Wilkes-Barre. She's working two jobs, trying to go to school.

At one point, she had saved to buy a car.

"I actually had enough until I moved out here, then situations happened where my family needed it more than I did, so I gave it up," she said.

But she says her mom taught her to always help others, even if it's just in small amounts, so she elected to give $5 of her paycheck each week to the United Way, which is what put her name in the grand prize drawing.

Speaking of her mom, Tatiana had her on the phone in no time.

"I won a car, mom! …I don't, um, a Toyota, I don't know! It's a car! I don't care what kind of car it is!"

And for the next two years, it's hers.

"Holy crap! I can finally go to school. I can finally provide for myself."

Bill Jones, president and CEO of United Way of Wyoming Valley, says in six years, he's never seen a reaction quite like that.

"What today is all about is celebrating all the donors at United Way of Wyoming Valley and all of the people that want to help us address issues of childhood poverty," Jones said.

"It was hard not to be crying along with everyone else! It is nice to see someone so deserving get an opportunity like this. it's amazing," said Mohegan Sun director of hotel operation Tim Athey.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! I never expected just helping a couple of children would help me out!" she said.

This is the sixth year for the lease giveaway benefitting the United Way of Wyoming Valley.