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She took the deal

By Staff | May 11, 2009

After keeping it a secret for over four months, Diane Jorgenson of Ledyard, Iowa, can now reveal what she won on the NBC television game show, ‘Deal or No Deal.’

The first half of her appearance on the program, hosted by Howie Mandel, aired the first week in January. The second half was postponed three times and finally was on NBC last Monday night.

Jorgenson didn’t take the first deal the banker offered her on Monday’s program. That was for $175,000.

“It almost killed me not to take it,” Jorgenson said in an interview on Tuesday with the Register. “After I said ‘No Deal’ I told myself that I was going to take the next offer from the banker, no matter what.”

She had to reveal three suitcase dollar amounts first. One was for $500,000 and the other two were small numbers.

Howie Mandel said the next offer from the banker was even bigger, and it was – $186,000.

“That’s a lot of money,” she told Mandel, and took the deal. It turned out to be a wise decision, as her next picks would have revealed the remaining big amounts.

Mandel asked Jorgenson what she planned to do with her winnings.

“We need a new septic system and we need a cement floor in the basement,” she told the host of the show, saying she need-ed to buy a lot of concrete.

That is precisely what she did.

“The basement contractors showed up to start work on the very same day the check arrived from the show,” she said. “That was a very good day – I sobbed at the kitchen sink for a while.”

According to the contract, NBC had up to three months after the show aired before they had to send her the money. It came by Fed-Ex a month ago.

“Of course, I didn’t know if the three months started from the date the first show was on, or would be three months from the second part.”

Jorgenson and her husband, Eldon, also did put in that new septic system. And as she said on the program, she is setting some money aside for her grandchildren, for college.

“I might take them to Disney World, too,” she says. “But they have to earn some of their own money for the trip – they need to learn you have to work for money.”

She and the grandkids walk the ditches picking up pop cans to turn in for recycling.

“So far we have gotten about $200 for the trip,” she says.

Jorgenson said she isn’t the type to splurge on herself with the money, and doesn’t even like to go shopping for clothes. But she did finally admit that she has secretly made a purchase and hidden it in the garage until after the show was on the air.

“I bought myself a cute little Jeep, for running around in,” she admits. “But it isn’t new, it is a used one.”

The naturally outgoing Jorgenson had a difficult time waiting four months to tell anyone what she won.

“I had to sign a contract that stated I would not reveal the outcome,” she said. “It said I could be sued for a million dollars, plus lose my winnings, if I told anyone.

She had to get her friends and relatives who were at the taping of the show to also agree to stay quiet.

But on Monday night, she invited 20 or so friends and relatives over to watch the show with her. They even taped it and watched it a couple more times on Monday.

“We got just as excited as the day I actually won,” she said. “It was a real adrenaline rush.

Jorgenson said she had a lot of fun being on the show, and really enjoyed her time with Howie Mandel.

“He is just as nice in person as he seems on television,” she said.

She and the ‘Deal or No Deal’ host developed a relationship during the taping. It was evident to viewers of the program.

“He doesn’t usually like to touch people or hug them, but he gave me several hugs,” she said. “I think we became friends.

Mandel and the show’s producers told her she was one of the most fun contestants they have ever had on the show. Many other people have told her the same thing.

It wasn’t the first time Jorgenson has been on television. She once appeared on the ‘Price is Right’ with Bob Barker. She has also attended the Oprah Winfrey Show, and got close to the runway at the Oscars.

Recently, Jorgenson and her husband traveled to Illinois to try out for the television show ‘The Amazing Race.’ She says they started standing in line at 3:30 in the morning, and were 30th in a line of 300 couples.

“They liked us a lot, I think,” she says. “They will let us know in 30 days if we were selected.

While waiting in line a young man from Maryland told Jorgenson she looked familiar. “You look just like a wild woman who was on ‘Deal or No Deal’ a while ago,” he said.

Jorgenson told him that she was indeed the wild woman – and proved it by jumping up and down. He had his picture taken with her to show his friends back in Maryland.

Jorgenson said the winnings from the ‘Deal or No Deal’ show was a big blessing.

“I’ve worked hard all of my life and to see a check this big took a while to sink in,” she said. “I told God that if I won, I wouldn’t go stupid with it, but use it for necessary things.”

Things like a new cement floor in her basement, something she has been waiting six years to get.

Now there is not only a new floor, but a finished family room for everyone to enjoy as well.

Maybe they will invite Howie Mandel over to see the new addition.