Ohio residents Carl and Ellen Barhorst love to travel. They’ve been to many countries, with one major exception: Israel.
Now, after winning the latest ISRAEL21c and EL AL sweepstakes, they have two free tickets with their names on them.
“I can’t believe it,” says Ellen. “Carl said not too long ago, ‘I have one more thing on my bucket list and that’s going to the Holy Land.’”
The Barhorsts are active in their Catholic church and are eager to visit the Christian historic and religious sites in Jerusalem and the Galilee. They’ll stay for free at the Fattal chain’s NYX Hotel in Herzliya.
“Maybe we’ll take a dip in the Jordan River and go to the Dead Sea. We’d like to see Nazareth and Bethlehem, too,” says Carl, who turns 76 in January.
Carl and Ellen have been married 20 years, each with grown children from previous marriages. Carl is a retired human-resources manager.
In addition to traveling to places such as England, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Dominican Republic, the Barhorsts enjoy crafts. Ellen knits and Carl creates stained-glass lamps and wall ornaments.
Carl said he had never heard of ISRAEL21c before seeing a promo for the sweepstakes on Facebook. He sent in his entry in mid-September.
But before finding out he won, Carl had a huge scare: one day he suffered a heart attack in the garden of the couple’s home in Sidney, Ohio. Ellen, a retired nurse, started CPR and kept Carl alive until the ambulance arrived.
“The kind of heart attack he had is called a V-fib,” explains Ellen. (That’s short for ventricular fibrillation.) “The doctors said people who have a V-fib outside of the hospital have a 5 percent chance of surviving.”
“But I recovered well, and the doctors are amazed,” says Carl.
“At that point, I thought life couldn’t get any better. And then I got an email saying I’d won a free trip to Israel. Yes, it can get better!”