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Million Dollar Baby(Dog)

MORGANTOWN — Sharon Turner had a million questions when the State Police knocked on her door Wednesday afternoon.

Two hours later, she received a million-dollar answer from Gov. Jim Justice and Babydog.

That was when the state’s leader and his faithful English bulldog sought her out at Kegler’s, a popular bowling alley and sports bar on Chestnut Ridge Road.

“OK, everybody,” the governor said, with the pup on a leash.

“Babydog is looking for, believe or not, the next millionaire in the state of West Virginia. Where’s Sharon Turner?”

The Morgantown-area woman who just celebrated her birthday the day before whooped, brushed tears and exclaimed, “How’d I get to be so lucky?”

Justice is trying to keep the coronavirus on a short leash.

A total of 2,891 residents to date have died from the virus and its complications, according to numbers from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

That’s how the “Do it for Babydog” vaccination sweepstakes came to be.

The governor and the canine for whom the promotion is named spent Wednesday on the road, awarding pickup trucks to two other lucky winners in Frankford and Parkersburg.

A handful of residents in Monongalia and Preston County also won other prizes this week, including lifetime hunting and fishing passes, and state park retreat packages.

The ongoing promotion continues next week, and registration is as easy as rolling up your sleeve for the vaccination, according to Justice.

“All this is about is stopping this dreaded killer and getting people vaccinated,” the governor said.

Turner agreed.

“I got vaccinated so I could keep healthy for my kids and grandkids,” she said.

The prize winner, who retired three years ago after working in customer service at a machine shop and car dealership said she’ll share her prize with her family.

“I’ll pay off some bills,” she said. “Maybe take a vacation. I am on a fixed income.”

All State Police 1st Sgt. Geoffrey Petsko wanted to do was get Turner fixed on the fact that everything was OK.

“Yeah, we got that established pretty quickly,” he said.

“It was like, ‘Your family’s OK. You’re not in trouble. You’re gonna really like how this will turn out.’ ”

Turner calmed down quickly and tried to solve the mystery to which her name was attached.

“I just figured my friends were doing a surprise party or something, since it was my birthday,” she said.

Then the governor and the bulldog walked in.

“We found out a couple of hours ago,” Kegler’s manager Doug Moore said, smiling. “We thought it was pretty cool that they wanted to use our place.”

“This is the ultimate cool,” the governor said.

“I’m so happy for Sharon. This is a great family.”

West Virginia’s newest millionaire echoed the governor.

“You really need to get vaccinated,” Turner said.

Justice, meanwhile, said he gets a shot of joy every time he goes somewhere and a crowd yells, “It’s Babydog … and the governor.”

“Hey, she’s way more popular than I am,” he said, as the pup licked hands and accepted pats and ear scratches.

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