Viewers Club winner hopes luck is changing

Local News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The first WCIA-3 Viewers Club winner says his prize came at the perfect time.

Chip Carpenter won $400 after his numbers were shown on the WCIX 49 News at Nine last week.

The Danville man says winning the money means the world to him. That’s because he and his wife lost everything a couple weeks ago.

Their home is a total loss after the North Fork of the Vermilion River flooded last month. Since then, they’ve been getting by with the help of friends who are giving them a place to stay. Carpenter says that $400 is a very welcome bonus right now, even though the flood took more than money can replace.

“Total devastation,” he says.

Carpenter can count his blessings, though he can’t put a dollar amount on what he lost.

“Look at the mold and everything growing. It’s a nasty mess.”

But he does remember the only number that mattered to him at the time.

“[The water] got up to an inch or two from the bottom of the windows. And by that time, we lost everything. We just knew it.”

His wife’s garden was reduced to a patch of mud, his driveway is now a graveyard of stranded fish, and his picnic table was swept almost 100 yards away.

“Now, how amazing was that?” he says.

It’s hard to add all of it up, even though Carpenter knows the power of floodwater.

“It can go from ankle deep to knee deep in minutes,” he says, “I mean literally, in minutes.”

At this point, no matter what he counts or doesn’t, the numbers don’t work out. His home can’t be saved.

“You know what, you got to move on.”

But when he learned he won $400? That was some math that made sense.

“It means the world because every dollar really counts right now. We’re trying to live day-by-day and get our next destination set up, so the money is just really, what a gift.”

Carpenter says they’ve been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support. Friends are helping them with an online fundraising page. They’re still trying to find a permanent place to stay.

You have a chance to win some cash, too. Sign up for free at

Then watch WCIX News at Nine every night. If you win, you go to the website and put in your code, within an hour of the newscast airing. That will net you $100.

If nobody wins, the prize rolls over and you can win up to $500. But remember: Just like Carpenter, you have to watch to win. 

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