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Piqua lottery winners unveiled to cheers, tears of joy

Dec 18, 2008, 9:46 am

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Mega Millions

New vehicles and new houses are on the horizon for many of the 15 multimillionaires in town.

Even more important is the security they want the money to bring to their families, winners of the $207 million Mega Millions lottery said as their identities were revealed Wednesday, Dec. 17.

"My mom, she won't stop crying. My sister, she won't stop crying," said Jolaine Routson, 46, a Piqua city Parks and Recreation department worker.

She's one of 14 city workers and one worker's father-in-law who held the winning ticket to the Friday, Dec. 12 drawing. The winners — with large smiles on their faces — were met with cheers and applause as they made their first public appearance.

The group chose a lump sum payment of $146,851,243, or $101,327,359 after payment of federal and state taxes. Fourteen winners each will receive an after-tax check for about $6.3 million. The 15th winner, Richard Donnelly, 58, had two shares in the pool after throwing in an extra buck for his mother.

"We played and played and played. It came through," Donnelly said.

He'll collect around $12.6 million, and his 90-year-old mother will get a new car.

Donnelly, the sole employee in the traffic department, will work at least until someone else knows the job: "I don't want to leave them cold."

Piqua Mayor Tom Hudson said he's known some of the winners all of his life. "This has been a blessing in our community already. What a great time, at Christmas," Hudson said.

Thomas Hill Jr., 72, the father-in-law of an employee, said he and his wife plan to set up a scholarship in the name of their son, who died of cancer at age 27.

"The first thing I'm going to buy I never had — a brand new vehicle," said Loyal Davis Jr., 41.

The group purchased its winning ticket, a $5 wager using the Lottery's auto-pick feature, at a Kroger store in Piqua, about 30 miles north of Dayton.

"I've always said I'll never get to retire even when I'm old enough," said Jolaine Routson, 46. "So this is just like a new thought process."

The win marks Ohio's third jackpot of the year in the multi-state Mega Millions game. It's the state's third-largest jackpot win since joining the game in 2002.

Lottery winners now able to provide for their families

Playing the Mega Millions lottery twice a week for more than five years means financial security, retirements and weddings for some of the 15 winners of the $207 million jackpot.

Jolaine Routson, 46, a Piqua city Parks and Recreation department worker, said she'll continue working in a job she loves. The thrill of winning was "to know you can actually take care of your parents who raised you and worked so hard," she said.

Her two brothers and a sister also will be taken care of, Routson said, adding, "They are first, before anything."

Co-worker Cynthia Hershberger, 45, is retiring to spend more time with family and to volunteer. She is buying her mother a house.

"To be able to help your family ... It's a great feeling to know you can help people," Hershberger said.

The winners range in age from 30-year-old Amos Steinbrunner of Coldwater to Thomas Hill Jr., 72, of Piqua, father-in-law of street department employee and fellow winner Loyal Davis Jr., 41.

All live in Piqua except Steinbrunner and Clifford Helman, 37, of Bradford.

Hill and his wife, Brenda, will set up a scholarship fund for Piqua High School in honor of their son, Steve Hill, a 1980 Piqua Central High School graduate and school teacher in Indiana, who died of cancer at age 27. Steinbrunner, employed by the city only two months, will be married in April.

"Right now. I'm in shock ... I am going to take it day by day to see how everything goes ... It can change all of my family's lives," he said.

After discovering early Saturday the group had won, Davis notified each winner. Wearing a Santa Claus hat Wednesday, he talked about the reactions, including screams and disbelief.

Fourteen employees of the City of Piqua, and one relative of a city worker claimed the $207 million Mega Millions jackpot that hit on Friday Dec. 12 at the Kroger store in Piqua. Fourteen of the winners will receive a check for approximately $6.3 million, and one winner who bought two shares will receive a check for $12.6 million.
Fourteen employees of the City of Piqua, and one relative of a city worker claimed the $207 million Mega Millions jackpot that hit on Friday Dec. 12 at the Kroger store in Piqua. Fourteen of the winners will receive a check for approximately $6.3 million, and one winner who bought two shares will receive a check for $12.6 million.

Richard Donnelly (from left), Loyal Davis and Arthur Rudy celebrate their winnings during a press conference at Fort Piqua Plaza on Wednesday, Dec. 17. Davis was the one who purchased the winning ticket. Fourteen employees of the city of Piqua and one relative of a city worker claimed the $207 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Richard Donnelly (from left), Loyal Davis and Arthur Rudy celebrate their winnings during a press conference at Fort Piqua Plaza on Wednesday, Dec. 17. Davis was the one who purchased the winning ticket. Fourteen employees of the city of Piqua and one relative of a city worker claimed the $207 million Mega Millions jackpot.

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