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Warner Robins couple wins tickets to the national football championship

Man finds out he won 2 tickets to GA-AL football championship game

United Way of Central Georgia calls the winner of its raffle drawing for a pair of tickets to see Georgia play Alabama at the national football championship game in Atlanta on Jan. 8, 2018.
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United Way of Central Georgia calls the winner of its raffle drawing for a pair of tickets to see Georgia play Alabama at the national football championship game in Atlanta on Jan. 8, 2018.

Jason Strickland was watching a live video feed of United Way of Central Georgia's raffle ticket drawing Friday night when he got a call from an unfamiliar phone number.

It was Jeff Smith, of Jeff Smith Automotive in Byron, calling to tell him he won a pair of tickets to watch the Georgia-Alabama national championship football game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 8.

"This Jason?" Smith said as a couple hundred people watched online. "You're watching on Facebook Live, huh? All right. ... Ready to go to the game?"

Strickland told The Telegraph by phone that he was "stunned to say the least."

"It will be my wife's first Georgia game, so we're going to do it up in a big way," Strickland said.

The 38-year-old said he and his wife already made arrangements to have someone watch their kids on Monday.

Though his home team is the University of California at Los Angeles, his wife, a Warner Robins native, is "a huge Georgia fan" and the couple knows "lots of people who know" Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, Strickland said.

Strickland said he has entered the United Way raffle for the past four or five years.

"It's kind of cool to finally win something," Strickland said.

Earlier Friday evening, a Perry woman won a new car in a separate raffle.

Carrie Karchella, 36, will get to choose from five new cars at Jeff Smith Automotive.

"I'm still in shock," she told The Telegraph by phone.

It was Karchella's first time entering the United Way drawing.

The nonprofit sold about 4,000 raffle tickets and raised $140,000, United Way President George McCanless said.

United Way uses money it collects to help needy people across Middle Georgia, including students in need of tutoring, battered people looking for shelter and folks in need of emergency services.

Laura Corley 744-4334; @Lauraecor

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