OUR VOICE

This article by Lori Carter on #Hunt4WildOats contest winner Brittany Jean appears in the Orlando Sentinel  at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/lake/os-lk-people-feature-brittany-jean-20141208-story.html, and was originally published on December 8, 2014.

LEESBURG — If there’s a contest, count Brittany Jean in.

Jean enters anything and everything she can. Over the years, she has won $2,350 in gift cards to buy gasoline, cards for other merchandise, a Minnie Mouse talking doll, a Dove candy prize-pack that included chocolate, wine glasses and a blanket and a Christmas toy giveaway two years in a row — among other goodies.

“I enter everything,” she said. “I go for it. People laugh about it now when I announce it. They aren’t surprised.”

Jean, 27, recently won a contest at Walmart sponsored by the organic brand Wild Oats for free organic food for a year. She entered the contest’s scavenger hunt challenge once weekly for four weeks online.

“You had to hunt for the products, take pictures when you found them and post them,” she said.

Jean said she will receive various products worth $75 quarterly for a year. She and her husband Michael have eaten the product line for nearly five months as part of a year-long project to improve their eating habits and lifestyle.

“Together, we have lost 200 pounds,” she said. The couple plans to continue “to have a healthy lifestyle for the rest of our lives and not to go back to wherever we were.”

Last year, Jean won $2,350 worth of gas cards from Shell. To enter the contest, she told of a road trip when she was a teenager with her family traveling to Rochester, N.H. Everything that could go wrong went wrong — among the troubles, the family had a flat tire and her sister broke her nose when she fell off the bed in a cabin, which was filled with spiders.

“I filled strangers’ gas tanks, more toward the elderly. Sometimes I just handed them the gift card. It’s what I like to do when I win things — give back somehow.”

Jean, a native of Rochester, N.H., is a 2006 Leesburg High School graduate. She took several courses at the community college and then married and had two children, Emma, now 5, and Logan, 2.

“For now, it’s best that I’m home,” she said.

Jean will start classes Jan. 5 at DeVry University, Orlando, in the field of business with a specialty in hospitality “so I can follow my Disney dream. It’s what I have loved my whole life.” She said she scored high on the entrance exam, which helped her receive scholarships.

She said she hopes to get work at Disney — “in any position, just to get my foot in the door by the end of 2015.”

Jean spends her free time at the gym and also is involved with Hometown Heroes on Facebook. About 450 people in the local group help others when someone needs yard work or a ride to an appointment or the like. The group also is planning to provide food for needy families at Christmas.

Jean said she’s not sure which contest she will enter next.

“I’m working on it. I started probably around 2010 keeping track of sweepstakes. It’s kind of a rush.”

Tom Casey
Amy Clark
Angelika Torres
Anthony Zolezzi
Chelsea Vurciaga
Dave Carter
Elizabeth Chatellier, MA, RDN
Linda Bonvie
Liz Latham
Sebrina Zerkus Smith
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