Tension built at Governor’s Square Mall in Clarksville on Saturday as fourteen finalists in the F&M Bank $100,000 American DreamStakes took their turn —choosing a key and trying to unlock the door that would determine the grand prize winner. At the very end, Ronnie Murray of Dover, the 14th and final contestant, unlocked the door and walked away with the $100,000.
“It’s going to make Christmas a lot easier this year,” confessed the 28-year-old Murray, who said his church would be the first recipient of his good fortune. He plans to write them a $10,000 check. Murray, along-side his wife, Carrie, said he had never won anything. “This is amazing, “ he exclaimed.
Since April of this year, registration for the $100,000 Dreamstakes had taken place at the 13 F&M Bank locations in Montgomery, Stewart, Rutherford, Wilson and Robertson counties.
During Saturday’s event, each contestant drew a number from 1-14 to determine the order in which they would select a box holding the potential winning key that would unlock the F&M playhouse. The first thirteen contestants, who had selected keys prior to Murray, attempted unsuccessfully to unlock the door. Murray, who had drawn the 14th and final position, took the last remaining box, which held the lucky key.
According to Sammy Stuard, F&M president and CEO, the bank originally decided to give away $100,000 to focus on the American dream of home ownership. “In today’s economy, most people receiving $100,000 will probably spend a portion of it on their home,” Stuard said. “In these challenging times, helping someone pay down or pay off their mortgage, put a down payment down on their first home or perhaps do some major home improvement seemed like a way to stimulate excitement among our customers and within our banking communities,” he continued.
While the $100,000 American Dreamstakes was the major focus of the promotion, F&M also conducted 26 weekly drawings, two per office location, in which they gave away a sum of money equivalent to the winner’s monthly mortgage or rent payment.
In addition to the grand prize event, F&M also drew the name of Wanda Warren of Springfield, as the winner of the $5,000 playhouse, which has represented the $100,000 Dreamstakes for F&M during the eight-month promotion. Mike Condry of Clarksville won $500 that was given away by F&M to spur shopper interest in Saturday’s event.
F&M Bank is one of the top 20 independent banks in the state. They were recently named by BusinessTN magazine as one of the state’s Hot100 companies. Sammy Stuard is the current chairman of the Tennessee Bankers Association and was named 2007 Community Banker of the Year by the American Banker newspaper, the financial industry’s leading daily information resource. F&M has assets exceeding $700 million and has recently opened new offices in Murfreesboro and White House. For more information on F&M Bank, visit www.myfmbank.com.