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Date of Issue: January 23, 2008

One of Island's own appears on national TV

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Former Islander Matt Borden appears Jan. 16 on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire." The show can be seen locally on WTSP-10 weekdays at 7:30 p.m. Islander Photo: Courtesy 'Millionaire'

Anna Maria Island’s native son, Matt Borden, walked away with $25,000 Jan. 16 on the national television show, “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.”

Borden, a tourism specialist with the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce in Burlington, Vt., was definitely on a roll. He even did his trademark “Three Stooges” imitation for host Meredith Viera.

Before he got on the show, Borden said he told his girlfriend, Gloria, he’s good at Millionaire and she gave him a little push to tryout. “I never would have done it myself. I still have Island ambition.”

He got tickets for the show in New York City and showed up early to take the test. “I was one of six people out of a hundred to pass,” he said, adding that he thought it was easy. “I got a call two or three weeks later” to be on the show.

“I taped the show in September. It was quite an experience.”

Matt’s winning move was at the $25,000 level, when he was asked, “What author famously defined guts’ as ‘grace under pressure?’” The choice of answers were Stephen Crane,Ernest Hemingway, Jack London or John Steinbeck. Borden’s intuition was to go for Hemingway, and a poll of the studio audience was the same, and indeed it was Hemingway.

The former Islander was stumped on the next question regarding islands, though, and switched the question. The first question was, “Said to resemble the shape of a butterfly, the islands Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre are part of what French colony? Réunion, Martinique,Guadeloupe, French Polynesia.” The correct answer is Guadeloupe.

Borden used both his “Phone A Friend” and “50-50” lifelines on his new $50,000 question, which was:  “In 1885, Joseph Meister made medical history when he became one of the first humans to receive what? A) An appendectomy, B) Open-heart surgery, C) X-rays, D) A rabies inoculation.”

The “PAF” turned out to be no help and, after using the “50-50,” Borden was left with “B” and “D” as options. He guessed wrong.

The correct answer was a rabies shot.

But he still walked away with $25,000 in winnings.

Borden told the Burlington Free Press prior to the show airing “if he wins big on ‘Millionaire,’ he’ll buy a new car (his broke down while returning from NYC), do something nice for his girlfriend and write a screenplay.

With hopes the play’s story line will take place on Anna Maria Island, we’ll be looking forward to the $25k play.

And we can look forward to seeing former Islander David Reid on “Crosswords” in April.