Wheel of Fortune is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, but some South Mississippi residents who appeared on the show are celebrating the good fortune the popular game show brought them.
Pascagoula resident Janet Spears says her winnings helped her and her family handle the stress and devastation Katrina dealt them.
Like many South Mississippi residents, Janet Spears and her family lost everything in the storm. But Janet was one of several local residents chosen to compete on the show just days before Katrina struck.
On August 26, 2005 she made it all the way to the final puzzle, during a taping of the show in New Orleans. But with only three letters to work with, Spears couldn't solve it.
"She didn't get this, but she got $25,566 in cash and prizes," Sajack said.
Little did she know how her life, and the lives of thousands of other South Mississippi residents, would spin out of control just three days later.
"When Katrina hit, we were living in an apartment, and we lost everything," Spears said.
After the storm, Janet and her family had a tough time getting back on their feet, living on a Carnival Cruise Ship, then in a FEMA trailer.
Spears, her husband, and their three children now live in a new apartment in Pascagoula and hope to soon move into a permanent residence, thanks in part to Janet's winnings on Wheel of Fortune.
"We have saved that money to purchase a house. We've been looking, and looking, and I think we've found one. So we're in the process of getting the paperwork done, and hopefully we'll be in a house soon," Spears said.