Sunday, May 9, 2021
Local family wins Verizon Wireless Sweepstakes!
By Brian W. Carter (Staff Writer)
Published June 30, 2011

A surprised Lathern family wins!


Left to Right: Christina Gonzalez, Associate Director Multicultural Marketing for Verizon, Yolanda Lathern, Johnny Lathern, Emma Lathern, Valerie Lathern, Dorothy Lathern, Casey Helenihi, Blackberry Carrier Sales Manager, & Ana Olguin-Aguilar, Manager, Marketing & Sales Operations for Verizon

The Lathern family will enjoy a big family get together thanks to the service provider.


By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer

Last Thursday, on June 23, Verizon Wireless announced the winner of the Verizon Wireless’ It’s a Family Affair™ program. All the contestants waited with bated breath for the winners to be announced. The moment had finally arrived…and the winners were…[drumroll]…the Lathern family of Hawthorne, California!

The Lathern family won an all-expense-paid family reunion, with up to 100 guests, which is valued at $20,000. The prizes also include a venue for the reunion, catering, entertainment, a family reunion website, four handheld Blackberry handsets and Playbooks.

The Lanthern family won with more than 50,000 public votes. There were over 100 entries sent into the sweepstakes from across the state.  There were 182,000 text and online votes received. The Lantherns were relieved and surprised all in one breath.

“[I’m] just excited—just overwhelmed,” said Valerie Lathern. “I’m glad we won—glad it’s over with. We’ve always had our family reunions in Mississippi and this is the first time we’ll have a family reunion in Southern California, so we’re excited about having all our little “country” cousins come down.”

The Latherns have stated that they believe family reunions are important for making memories, traditions, giving wisdom, and honoring family members who have passed away and a new members who have joined the family.

“We created the program because we really wanted to celebrate the family aspect of togetherness,” said Christina Gonzalez, director of multicultural marketing for Verizon Wireless in the western U.S. “What better way to do that than using a family reunion as a reason to create a program.”

Blackberry representative, Casey Helenihi, Carrier Sales Manager for the Verizon wireless business unit, was at the event to both present Blackberry devices and congratulate the winning family.

“When we had the opportunity to partner up on this event, we absolutely wanted to do everything we could to help support it,” said Helenihi. “It’s awesome…it’s a fantastic opportunity for us [Blackberry] to also connect—it was exciting.”

“It makes me feel really proud,” said Gonzalez. “To see this program, not only come together and see how it was embraced by the community, but also to get to the end and award the family and see how appreciative they are of it.”

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including more than 88 million retail customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD).  For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at


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