Thursday, July 1, 2004

Pair of homers just divine for nun


Reds fan wins $10,000 for Ind. convent

By Maggie Downs
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
Sister Susanna Helms of Oldenburg, Ind., got her wish to meet Reds play-by-play announcer Marty Brennaman Wednesday after winning $10,000 in a radio contest.
The Enquirer/JEFF SWINGER
Sister Susanna Helms of the Sisters of Saint Francis in Oldenburg, Ind., is a huge Reds fan.

Whenever the team plays, the 62-year-old Clifton native tunes in to WLW-AM on her portable radio.

That way, she can listen to the game in her air-conditioned room without other sisters talking over the announcers.

During the Reds-Marlins game May 31, Helms joined a group of her fellow sisters for supper at a restaurant to celebrate another nun's birthday.

The radio came along.

That's when Helms heard her name broadcast as the Reds fan who could win $10,000 from U.S. Bank if the Reds hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.

You know the rest.

The Reds' Barry Larkin and Sean Casey -- Helms' favorite player - did just that.

"The odds of this happening ... well, I just couldn't believe it," said Helms, who received the money Wednesday at Great American Ball Park and met longtime announcers Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall.

Helms has been a nun for 44 years, 28 of those as a missionary and teacher in New Guinea. She now serves as payroll manager at the convent.

She, with three other Reds fanatics at the convent, entered the U.S. Bank/WLW Back-2-Back Cash Back contest by mailing in postcards.

They also attend about five games a season and keep track of all the players' stats.

Because Helms has taken a vow of poverty, the $10,000 check will go directly to the Sisters of Saint Francis.

The money will be deposited into the convent's general fund to cover medicine, electricity bills and other needs.

As for Helms, she will go back to listening to Marty and Joe on her radio."As long as I've been alive, I've been a Reds fan," she said.

E-mail mdowns@enquirer.com




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