Perry woman receives $14,000 home makeover in Aaron's contest

PERRY — Ruth Usher repeatedly screamed "Oh no!" after finding out she was the winner of a $14,000 home makeover Wednesday.

Usher was the grand prize winner in Aaron's Inc.'s National Lucky Dog Day contest. More than 1.6 million letters were distributed nationwide. Customers who brought those letters in to Aaron's were entered in a random drawing for the grand prize.

"I didn't think I had a chance," said Usher as she held her hands on her face. "This never happens to me."

Usher received a seven-piece living room set, a nine-piece dining room set, two seven-piece bedroom sets, a 60-inch television with a stand, a 42-inch flat panel television, a 32-inch flat panel television, two home theater systems, a refrigerator, a washer and dryer pair, a laptop and a netbook.

"This was the first time we've done something on this scale," said Mark Rudnick, vice president of marketing for Aaron's.

The company plans on making the contest an annual event.

One of Usher's neighbors, Leona Mixon, was riding in her car with her daughter, Melinda Jones, when they saw the Aaron's truck, balloons and the Lucky Dog mascot.

"We thought it was her birthday," Mixon said. "We didn't know she won something."

They both agreed Usher probably still was in shock about winning.

Emily Rich, another neighbor, said Usher was being rewarded for her kindness.

"She has blessed so many people," Rich said. "She just gave me a coat more than an hour ago."

Rudnick said Usher seemed to be a friend to everyone.

"Everyone just raves about what a nice person she is," he said.

Usher has lived in a senior community in Perry since February. She moved here from Miami.

"I just had a vision to move here," she said.

Even though the winnings were for her, Usher was thinking of people she could help with her gifts.

"I've been blessed, so I'll bless someone else," Usher said.

To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.