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Illinois man celebrates 60th birthday with $2 million lottery jackpot

By Ben Hooper
An Illinois high school custodian celebrated his 60th birthday by collecting a $2 million lottery jackpot. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Lottery
An Illinois high school custodian celebrated his 60th birthday by collecting a $2 million lottery jackpot. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Lottery

GURNEE, Ill., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A custodian at an Illinois high school celebrated his 60th birthday by visiting Illinois Lottery headquarters to collect his $2 million prize.

Gurnee resident Dave Martinez, a 34-year employee of New Trier High School, said he bought the Merry Millionaire scratch-off ticket on a whim Nov. 19 while purchasing a cup of hot chocolate from the Citgo gas station in Gurnee.

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"The night before, I played there and I won $100, so I thought I'd go back and buy one the next day," Martinez told WLS-TV. "I went home and started scratching it off in my dining room, and then I just couldn't believe it."

Martinez said he initially thought he had won $100,000, but he soon realized he had actually won $100,000 per year for the next 20 years -- a total $2 million before taxes.

"I read the back and I was like 'Whoa.' I started jumping up and down with my wife, and then signed the back right away. I still can't believe it," Martinez said.

Martinez visited the Lottery Prize Center in Des Plaines two days later, his 60th birthday, to collect his winnings.

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"I am going to pay my bills, make wise investments, and maybe take a vacation. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, and now I can!" he told lottery officials.

Martinez said he plans to continue working at New Trier High School until he retires next fall.

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