Local Wheel of Fortune Winner Uses Money to Rebuild

Linda Buford is a single mother, raising an autistic son. But she considers herself fortunate, especially after winning tens of thousands of dollars on the Wheel of Fortune. She used her winnings to fix up the home she shares with her son and spells out her success as a divine blessing.

The sign next to Linda Buford's front door reads, "Bless this home and all who enter." When she bought the home after Katrina, it was in dire need of repair. She wasn't sure where the money would come from, but she held fast to her faith. Soon, good fortune struck, and she was selected out of thousands of South Mississippi residents to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.

Linda amazed the audience, and even Pat Sajack, with her puzzle solving skills, winning cash and prizes for solving all but one puzzle on the show. With ease, she made it to the final round.

In the final round, Sajack said, "Talk it out, you have ten seconds."

Within seconds, she yelled out "Insignia," solving the puzzle.

In all, Linda won $48,010 in cash and prizes. She believes she had a little more than good luck and wits on her side.

"It was funny. My final puzzle, insignia, the day before on Rodeo Drive, my best friend bought a tie that had a Brooks Brothers insignia on it, and it was very expensive, and she had complained about it all night, and I explained to her, 'It has the insignia on it. That's what you wanted.' So when I saw insignia on the final puzzle, I was shocked, shocked. I really thought somebody was following me around with a camera. It was very shocking. But it was a blessing, it really was."

Linda used a good bit of the money to fix up the house she shares with her son Ricky, purchasing new flooring and furniture. As for her show appearance, many people were touched by the woman from Biloxi, Mississippi, and her stint with the Wheel of Fortune may not yet be over.

"Pat Sajak was handing me Kleenex. The producer said if they had an episode where they bought back certain players, that they would bring me back," she said.