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Saginaw Township woman wins a new car in a national contest

Saginaw Township woman wins a new car in a national contest
by Gus Burns | The Saginaw News
Friday May 01, 2009, 10:39 AM
When Donald M. Ferguson of GMAC called Nancy L. Ziembo to inform her she'd won a new car, he heard a click and ended up on the lonely end of a dial tone.

"I'm sorry I gave you such a difficult time," the Saginaw Township sweepstakes winner told Ferguson just after 11 a.m. Friday, shortly before taking the keys to her brand-new, carbon black metallic, flex-fuel capable 2009 Pontiac G6 Sedan with a V-6 engine and a $24,715 sticker price at McDonald's Pontiac GMC Cadillac, 5155 State in Saginaw Township.

Melanie Sochan | The Saginaw News

"I don't think I want to get involved," Nancy Ziembo originally told Ferguson, director of corporate relations for GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corp.) in Auburn Hills, when he called to tell her the good news two weeks ago.

The persistent Ferguson called back.

"Take this call," the 61-year-old said she told her husband, Charles Ziembo, 62, of Saginaw Township. "There's some guy on the phone, and I don't want to talk to him."

Ferguson again informed Charles Ziembo, who often enters online contests using his wife's name, that his wife won a car in an online sweepstakes, to which the skeptical Charles Ziembo said he replied, "yeah, yeah, yeah."

Charles Ziembo, a former Internal Revenue Service Employee, didn't believe the man who coincidentally shared the same name as his brother-in-law, compounding the confusion.

Ferguson called again the next morning but reality didn't sink in until the paperwork arrived in the couple's mailbox a few days later.

The Ziembos and Ferguson laughed Friday as they recounted their initial contact.

Nancy Ziembo, grinned and clutched a bouquet of flowers -- courtesy of the dealership, who also gave her a cake that said "Congratulations Nancy" -- as she stood on the passenger side facing media. Her husband stood to the side, his arms behind his back sporting a grin.

He was invited to join his wife but declined; "It's my wife's day," he said.

"I live such a quiet life, and this is so much commotion," Nancy Ziembo said after the cameras left.

She pointed out the dealership window at a burgundy 1998 Chevrolet Sonoma pickup they arrived in. Having two garage slots for three vehicles, "that's the one that's going to sit outside," she said.

In addition to the car, equipped with a year of Sirius XM satellite radio, a five-year, 100,000-mile extended warranty, General Motors Onstar system and 11 miles on the odometer, GMAC presented Nancy Ziembo a $6,000-check to help pay sales and income taxes.

Ferguson said it was enough to cover the taxes and told her, "I've got the same car, and it's peppy."

Ferguson heads to Kelseyville, Calif., Monday to present a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt to the other winner in the contest, which he said had 1.5 million entrants.

Nancy Ziembo is the first Michigan-winner since the national contest sponsored by SmartEdge by GMAC ( began four years ago, Ferguson said.

An employee drove the shiny car down the ramp through the showroom doors to the sunny lot. The Ziembos had no immediate plans.

"It's a good day for a drive," Nancy Ziembo said.

Gus Burns is a staff writer for The Saginaw News. You may reach him at 776-9724 or

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