HUNTSVILLE, Texas -

A Buffalo, Texas woman got quite a surprise when she arrived at the Sam Houston Statue Visitor Center Wednesday and found out she was their millionth guest.

Local dignitaries, staff, volunteers from the visitor center and many more celebrated Brenda Bowman when she arrived at the center at 9:19 a.m.

Bowman and her husband were on their way to Cleveland, Texas when they decided to stop in.

“I heard last night on KBTX that there were only 11 people to go before the millionth visitor, and I was sure they’d already reached 1,000,000 people, but I told my husband to pull in anyway,” Bowman said, holding a check for $500 from the City of Huntsville. “I just can’t believe it was me!”

Bowman took commemorative photos with Mayor Mac Woodward, former Councilmember Dalene Zender, former Huntsville City Manager Gene Pipes and that staff and volunteers from the visitor center.

“This is a very emotional day, and a true reward for all of the hard work that has gone into this project since day one,” said Tourism and Cultural Services Director Kimm Thomas. “When I came on about seven years ago, [Visitor Services Coordinator] Jamie Matthews told me we needed to start thinking about this day, and now that it’s here, it’s just really special. I’m very proud of the staff, the volunteers, the community members and everyone else who worked to make this happen. This is a true representation of the greatness of tourism and the impact it can have on a community.”

To see the Millionth Person photo gallery and for more information about travel and touring the center, visit www.huntsvilletexas.com.