Leskomania hits HCC

May 05, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


Matthew Lesko, probably best known as the wacky, screaming free money guy from late-night TV commercials, answered a question Thursday that everyone wanted to know.

It wasn't how to rake in millions in free money. It was whether he always dresses in a bright-colored suit with sewn-on question marks.

He said he does.

The author of more than 100 how-to books on using government programs to get money for education, health care, businesses and other needs, spoke to a crowd of about 100 people at Hagerstown Community College.


"I'm going to show you how to be successful in America without spending your own money," Lesko said.

And he did that wearing one yellow sock, one pink sock and red rubber shoes.

"It's fun to be funky," he said of his wardrobe.

While his presentation was entertaining, he also made sure that those interested in applying for government money would have to work for it. His books compile all of the necessary information, he said, but the person applying for the money has to be motivated. It might not happen the first time.

Be prepared, Lesko said, for failure.

"It takes perseverance," he said. "And the belief that (the money) is there. Everything I give you is really just a start."

Diane Vanderbos of Hancock said she attended Lesko's lecture because she hopes to start her own hair salon. She also is interested in finding out where she could receive funds for her son's college education, she said.

"I never knew all of these programs were out there," she said. "Now, I know where to find them."

Kim Fisher of Hagerstown said she has started her own small business and listened to Lesko's presentation hoping to find ways she could apply for money to expand. She started her florist and event planning business, Paradise Flowers, in 2004.

Fisher said she planned to look into available money so she could purchase a delivery van and a cooler for her business, which she operates out of her home.

"I want to expand," she said.

A grant to aid businesses opening in small towns that Lesko spoke about during his presentation interested Fisher, who hopes to move her business to Clear Spring.

Millie Noll of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she has purchased some of Lesko's books in the past and believes she might use them to help her start a home care nursing business. Noll works as a nurse, but said many elderly people need home care.

"I'm going to see what kind of federal money is available for something like that," Noll said.

Carol Blackburn, also of Martinsburg, recently started a business, Treasured Pets Sitter Service.

She planned to purchase several of Lesko's books to help her find government money to aid her business.

"But I like that he said it's not going to happen all at once," Blackburn said. "Nothing is free. You have to do the work."

For details on Lesko's books, DVDs and other materials go to or call 1-800-UNCLESAM.

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