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UPDATE: Roanoke woman's charitable nature wins money for Rescue Mission

Published On: Mar 18 2014 05:24:55 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 30 2014 11:42:39 AM EDT

A Roanoke woman is in the running to win a national contest, one penny at a time.


UPDATE: 3/30/14

Pennies are paying off for one Roanoke woman and her favorite charity.
We told you about Lee Rowland earlier this month.

Rowland was competing in a nationwide online competition to raise money for the Roanoke Rescue Mission.

Earlier this week she learned, her charity: "Curt's Mile of Pennies" got enough votes to win the Mission 500-dollars!

Since she started the charity in her husband Curt's memory, she estimates she's collected almost 18-thousand dollars - and Rowland says it's all because of the community's help.
"Went through mile, after mile, after mile, just as fast as we could go and I have jars in churches, in some businesses and a lot of friends and families have the jars," says Rowland.

Since it started in 2010, Rowland estimates she's collected almost 22-miles of pennies!

The 86-year-old says just because the competition is over doesn't mean she'll slow down.

She says she'll continue collecting pennies as long as she's able.



"He was in the Navy in Norfolk," says Lee Rowland remembering her husband, "He came to Roanoke every chance he got."

Lee and Curt Rowland's love story dates back 70 years.

"I thought he was special. He was handsome and he was so kind. I've never found anyone who didn't like him," she says.

When Curt died in 2010, his wife of more than 65 years, was devastated.
But, she turned that grief into action and created: Curt's Mile of Pennies.

"It takes $844.80 to make a mile of pennies," Rowland says counting out the change.

Since 2010, jars and containers have been placed throughout the Valley to benefit the Roanoke Rescue Mission

"Curt and I just loved to come down and just peel potatoes, and apples, shuck corn, and dip soup, whatever they needed us to do -we loved to do that," Rowland says explaining.

One cent, turned to two.
And, one mile grew to several.
Now, millions of pennies and nearly $18,000 later, Rowland is in a national competition putting her penny power to the test to win the Rescue Mission even more money.

"Five-hundred dollars would provide clinical care, it would provide meals, it would provide shelter, it would provide protection for those that are homeless and going through a crisis situation right now," explains Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for the Rescue Mission Stacy Boris.

As for 86-year-old Rowland, she says regardless of whether she wins the contest, her mission is clear:

"People want to know when I'll stop, as long as I'm able to do it, I'll do it," she says smiling.

The competition continues until Friday, March 21st.

Click here ( to cast your vote for Lee Rowland!