June 21, 2005
Missouri Lottery Millionaires Greenin' Up The Ozarks
On the first day of summer, a group of 21 Missouri Lottery-made millionaires and their families were found "greenin’ up the Ozarks" during a litter pick-up event on the South Creek Greenway in Springfield. The event was part of the Lottery’s 19th annual millionaires’ reunion.
"At the past two reunions, the millionaires gave something back to the community. Two years ago, they sorted and boxed food at a food bank in Kansas City, and last year, they assisted with outdoor games with disabled people in St. Charles," said Gary Gonder, interim director of the Missouri Lottery. "This year, we thought the millionaires could give back to the Springfield community by literally cleaning up one of the most beautiful areas of the state - the Ozarks."
This year’s attending jackpot winners represented combined winnings of more than $242 million.
Gonder noted that the Lottery organizes the reunion and the millionaires pay their own way. He said there are many reasons the reunions are important, including it is a good opportunity for the millionaires to meet others who have experienced such a sudden life change.
"Reunions are also a great forum for the Lottery to present winners with information that affects them," Gonder said. "In addition, they provide an opportunity for the media to interview jackpot winners to ask how their lives have changed."
In addition to their clean-up efforts on the Greenway, Lottery winners were presented with two seminars during the reunion: one seminar titled "The Power of Sleep" by Dr. Terrence Coulter, medical director at the CoxHealth Sleep Disorders Center in Springfield; and one seminar called "Goal Digging: Your Map to Success" presented by Geri Wiseman, professional development manager for the Missouri Lottery. The millionaires also enjoyed entertainment in Branson during their stay, including a dinner at the Hard Luck Diner and seeing the "Lost in the ’50s" show at the Starlite Theater.
Since the Lottery began in January 1986, 203 Missouri Lottery jackpot tickets ranging from $1 million to $130.6 million, have been sold. These jackpot prizes total more than $1.3 billion.