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A busted phone propels Erica Riggs on a journey that wins her a cash prize and a donation to Colton Aid Network.

In September, Erica Riggs dropped and broke her cell phone. She said it was an old and outdated model so she went into the Molalla Verizon store to pick out a newer one.

While the salesperson, Myndi Steele, was transferring data to the new phone, she suggested Riggs go over to a desk, fill out a survey and submit it. That action would automatically enter her into the Verizon TCC 10/10 drawing.

Riggs said she followed through and never gave it another thought.

COURTESY PHOTO: GERI FRAIJO - Verizon TCC presents a check to (from left) Geri Fraijo, Michelle Axmaker-Chapman, Erica Riggs, and Chenda Saly during a Nov. 9 ceremony.In October, however, Riggs said she began to receive multiple calls from an unknown number and, thinking they were probably scam calls, she didn't answer. One day her husband Doug answered a phone call from an unknown number and heard, "We have been trying to reach your wife … she has won a prize. Please have her call us." Erica Riggs had won a nationwide raffle from Verizon TCC. The company's regional director, Chenda Saly, said each quarter one randomly selected customer wins $10,000, plus an additional $10,000 for a nonprofit of their choice. This is only the second time a winner has come from the Pacific Northwest. The previous winner was from Madras.

Riggs said that after calling to confirm that she was, indeed, the winner, she couldn't stop crying. She had been fighting breast cancer this past year and it was a fight she would win -- the cancer is gone, but the medical bills aren't.

"I was really shocked that it was so much money; it could not have come at a better time," Riggs said. "When they asked me what charity, I chose Colton Aid Network (CAN). There were years when our family benefited from the holiday food boxes and Christmas gifts. We always volunteered to help with sorting, packaging and delivering the food. I wanted our kids to know they had responsibilities and to help others was part of what you do even when you are being helped. That way you are benefiting in two ways."

Colton Aid Network President Geri Fraijo said she was a little surprised, too.

"I was so surprised when Erica called me," Fraijo said. "She wanted to let me know we would be contacted by Verizon. We will be using the money within the Colton community for families needing assistance. We usually bring in just enough money to cover our expenses, so this will be a real help."

On Nov. 9, Riggs, Fraijo and CAN Vice President Michel Axmaker-Chapman met with representatives of Verizon TCC at the Verizon store in Molalla. The locals were met by a professional photographer and videographer and Regional Manager Chenda Saly. The winners were interviewed and the checks were presented by Saly. Fraijo said it was very moving to listen to Erica Riggs talk about how significant it was to her to receive the generous check at a time in her life when it is so needed.

"It was equally moving to hear Erica say how important it is to her that she is able to help her community, too," Fraijo said. "And to share that she has benefited from CAN when needed and how important it is to her to give back to the organization."

"I am very excited to be able to help out Colton Aid Network," Riggs said. "The check from TCC is going to help out so many."


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