Rosa Rathbun kept her promise to God.
The Yuma woman bought a $100 ticket in the 2004 Health and Wealth Raffle for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
"When I got the ticket, I put it on the table and laid my hands on it and said, ‘God, I haven’t had a good return on the money I’ve given to you, but if I win the grand prize, I will give the vehicle to the pastor,’ " she said.
And Friday she won a grand prize of a furnished luxury home with landscaping and a pool in Gilbert and a 2004 Mercedes, a package that’s valued at about $550,000.
"We’ve already given the vehicle to the pastor," Rosa said Wednesday. "Pastor Rick said, ‘Is that for real?’ "
She and her husband Howard gave him the Mercedes sport utility vehicle because he works a lot with the elderly and goes to the hospital everyday, she said.
"It is a 15- to 20-mile trip to the hospital, and he didn’t have any air (conditioning) in his pickup," Rathbun said.
This isn’t the first time the couple has given away a vehicle for a good cause. In 1978, they donated a car to missionaries. Then in 1980, they donated a mobile home to missionaries who took it down to Mexico.
The Rathbuns, a semi-retired couple who live in a mobile home in Yuma and own a mobile home park in Texas, aren’t sure if they are going to sell or move into the new house in the Power Ranch community at Queen Creek and Power roads.
"We have so many friends in Yuma and really like it there," Rosa Rathbun said.
The couple don’t have any children but some of the people in Yuma are like children to them, she said. "I am sure there are more people now that want to be our kids," she said.
Howard Rathbun said even though everyone they’ve meet in Gilbert seems nice, they had never heard of the town before they won the prize.
Kathy Rice, project manager of the raffle, said the prize package was among 5,100 prizes in the raffle. This was the second year the hospital held the raffle, and 100,000 tickets were sold in four weeks, she said.
This year, the raffle raised more than $3 million that will go to stroke research, Rice said.