|Henson wins college scholarship in Shot at a Million vaccine drawing
By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
Tyler Henson, whose family lives along the Montgomery-Clark County line on Donaldson Road, was one of the first six winners in Kentucky’s Shot at a Million drawings.
The drawings are part of the state’s incentive program to encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated the winners at an event at the state Capitol July 2. They included one adult Kentuckian for the $1 million prize and five youths to receive to full-ride scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or trade school.
There were reportedly more than 608,000 entries in the first drawing.
Tyler attended the event with his mother, Katie, father, Brad, twin, Aden, his brother, Nolan, and grandparents, Margie and Paul Purdon.
At the event, Tyler had his photograph taken with the governor sitting behind the governor’s desk.
Tyler, who will be a seventh grader at Robert D. Campbell Junior High School in Winchester this fall, was one of five youths selected during the first drawing.
Tyler told the Advocate the announcement was “very exciting.” He said he would like to attend the University of Kentucky to study mechanical engineering, but that’s a long way off.
Tyler enjoys UK sports and any vehicle that travels fast, whether it is dirt bikes, cars or jeeps.
His grandfather, Paul Purdon, said the family was overjoyed because from what he’s learned the scholarship is worth more than $100,000. The scholarship includes tuition, housing and books.
Purdon said Tyler’s scholarship will also help the family afford to send his twin, Aden, to college as well.
“As parents of twins, we have had double expenses for just about everything,” Tyler’s parents said in a release. “Tyler receiving this scholarship will relieve the burden of having two in college at the same time and give us the opportunity to support both Tyler and Aden in receiving a higher education.”
“It will be a lot easier for his parents to send them,” Purdon said. “It makes a big difference.”
Purdon said Katie entered the entire family in the Shot at a Million drawings via Facebook after each member of the family got vaccinated.
The family attends Bethesda Church on Winchester Road and after missing in-person services for more than a year, Purdon said the family was anxious to get vaccinated so they could attend worship without masks.
He said the Hensons hesitated about getting the twins vaccinated, but the family physician and their daughter-in-law, Kaylee Struwing Purdon, a neonatal intensive care unit doctor at UK, both recommended Tyler and Aden do so.
Teens ages 12-17 were permitted by the FDA to get the Pfizer vaccine beginning in April.
Tyler was vaccinated shortly thereafter at First Care, a clinic located along the Mt. Sterling Bypass in the former Bojangles building, Purdon said.
He said Katie was working on some tiling at their new house on the Purdon property July 1 when she received a message by phone from the governor’s office that Tyler had won in the contest.
The representative for the governor asked if Tyler would be available to speak to Beshear on Facetime within the next five to 10 minutes, Purdon said.
Katie rushed right over to the Purdons to inform Tyler of the upcoming call, the grandfather recalls.
“It’s something Tyler will never forget,” Purdon said.
The other Kentucky youths selected for the full scholarships were Jaden Crudup of Elizabethtown, Crystal Frost from Crestwood, Adison Sullenger from Princeton and Alex VonderHaar from Louisville.
The winner of the $1 million prize was Patricia Short from Lexington.
“This happens in the movies, and now it happens in Kentucky,” Patricia’s husband, Gary Short said in a release. “I hope it makes one million more people get vaccinated.”
“Congratulations to the winners! Their prizes are life-changing, that that’s on top of the COVID-19 vaccines, which we know are lifesaving,” the governor said in a release. “Please, get your vaccination as quickly as possible. If there are people in your life who might need some encouragement, tell them about your experience and then encourage them to sign up for their Shot at a Million.”
Vaccinated Kentuckians still have two more chances to become millionaires or scholarship winners. The remaining incentive drawings will take place July 29 and Aug. 26, with one millionaire and five scholarship recipients announced the day following each drawing. Those who did not win the first drawing remain eligible for the final two drawings.
Permanent residents of Kentucky can enter to win the following prizes at shotatamillion.ky.gov.
• $1 million. Kentuckians 18 and older who have received at least their first dose of a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, may enter to win one of the remaining two $1 million prizes.
• Full scholarship. Kentuckians 12-17 years old who have received at least their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may enter to win one of the remaining: 10 full scholarships to a Kentucky public college, university, technical or trade schools, which includes tuition room-and-board and books.
For more information, official rules and to enter, visit shotatamillion.ky.gov.