Janesville52°

Retired GM worker wins the last Tahoe off the line

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Jim Leute
Stacy Vogel
February 25, 2009
— And the winner is...

Gerald Kinderman of Janesville.


He was drawn this morning as the winner of the last sport-utility vehicle built in Janesville.


The other winner is the United Way of North Rock County, which raised $200,460 in raffling the Chevrolet Tahoe.


It was a feel-good story all the way around this morning. Kinderman, 65, of 3908 Windwood Drive, is a retired General Motors worker who won the big prize after buying just one ticket. The United Way raised much more than its goal of $180,000 by selling more than 11,000 tickets for the last Tahoe off the line.


All the money goes to local United Way programs. The raffle proceeds will be added to the 2008 annual fundraising campaign, which has a goal of $1.35 million.


The winner was announced shortly after 9 this morning at United Way's annual meeting. About 75 community members milled about the Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Drive, to hear the announcement, but Kinderman was not one of them.


"I'm kind of in shock right now," he said when reached at home. "I'm just super happy is all I can say. It's a wonderful surprise. I'll have to call my wife, because I'm sure she'll be surprised."


Kinderman worked at GM for 37 years, first on the line and later as a carpenter, he said. He retired in 2000. He and his wife, Peggy, have four children, three of them in the Janesville area.


Representatives of the local GM plant and United Auto Workers Local 95 announced in December that they would donate the plant's last sport-utility vehicle to the United Way of North Rock County, which made it the top prize in a fundraising raffle.


The black 2009 Chevy Tahoe LTZ was the last truck off the line Tuesday, Dec. 23. It is fully loaded and carries a sticker price to match: $57,745.


Tickets were $20 each, or six for $100.


At the end of the day Monday, the United Way had sold about $195,000 worth of tickets. But the organization sold tickets right up until the time of this morning's drawing, generating an extra $5,000.


In addition to the Tahoe, a piece of Janesville history, the raffle included a $1,600 package from Kutter Harley-Davidson and a $1,300 play set from Swing-N-Slide. CRT Processing is donating 14 refurbished LCD televisions, eight Dell computer systems and 10 surround-sound systems.


United Way is expected to compile a list of winners today.


Kinderman said he hadn't yet thought about what he'd do with the Tahoe.


"It's very special," he said.



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