Bluffton woman, surprised on national TV, wins Barbados trip
Amy Coyne Bredeson
"Last week, we talked with Jessica Alba. What did Jessica say a police officer stopped and showed her?"
That was the trivia question Ryan Seacrest recently asked Lois Willig.
Her answer? A tattoo.
And with that, Willig won a weeklong trip to Club Barbados.
A die-hard fan of "Live with Kelly and Ryan," the Sun City Hilton Head woman received a phone call from the two celebrities as she was preparing to return home after evacuating for Hurricane Irma.
After explaining to the show's hosts, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, that she had evacuated to Columbia to escape the storm, Ripa said, "The fact that we are talking to you gives us great comfort, and we thank God that you're safe."
A retired elementary school teacher from Pennsylvania, Willig takes notes as she watches the show so she will be prepared if the hosts ever call for the trivia contest.
"The last thing I packed when we were getting ready to evacuate was my notebook," Willig said.
Thanks to her note-taking skills, Willig was able to quickly answer the trivia question.
After retiring from teaching years ago, Willig found a new hobby - entering contests. She has won several prizes since then, including a trip to Las Vegas, tickets to a Moody Blues concert and a gift card for $500 worth of fuel.
Willig has a year to take advantage of her free trip to Barbados.
Although she has won many prizes over the years, Willig is not selfish with her winnings. She won a toy race track once and donated it to the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton. Her husband, Wally, even built a table to put it on.
For 13 years, the couple organized free Christmas dinners on Hilton Head Island. They both volunteer at their church, St. Luke's United Methodist in Okatie, and they help out their neighbors whenever they can. Wally cycled cross country three times, raising $250,000 for various charities.
They even took a 93-year-old and 87-year-old with them when they evacuated during Hurricane Irma.
The Willigs would do just about anything to help their neighbors, friends, even strangers. There's just one caveat.
"They know not to call me between 9 and 10 a.m.," Lois said.
Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.