$10 million sweepstakes check caps fan's night

Visitors during game surprise Harford man

Super Bowl Xxxv

Ravesn Vs. Giants

January 29, 2001|By Michael James and Alec MacGillis | Michael James and Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

For Ravens fan Wilbur Ervin Jr., victory was a bit sweeter last night.

The 76-year-old retired Aberdeen Proving Ground meteorologist was watching the Super Bowl alone in his modest Havre de Grace home last night when he heard a knock at his door. At first, he ignored it, thinking it was "just somebody horsing around."

Far from it.

Standing outside were representatives from the Publishers Clearing House, armed with roses and champagne, who came to tell Ervin that he had won the $10 million grand prize. The scene was broadcast on national television last night after the football game.

"Oh my Lord, that's unbelievable," Ervin said. "I'll be darned, I can't believe it."

Then he invited everyone in for a Diet Pepsi.

Ervin learned a few weeks ago that he was among 200 finalists for the grand prize, but was caught unaware by the late-night visit, joking to his visitors, "I'm real surprised to see you guys - you caught me with my teeth out."

Ervin, who has two daughters, said he would invest some of his winnings and use some for a trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he spent time after his military service. He wasn't going to buy a new car; instead, he said he would repair his 1999 Cadillac Eldorado, which was in an accident last week.

"I can only drive one car at a time," he said.

Ervin said he was a big Colts fan back in their Baltimore days and was now rooting for the Ravens.

But asked if he would rather have seen a Ravens victory or win the prize, Ervin didn't hesitate: "I'll take the $10 million every day of the week."

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