2005-11-18 16:40:27.0

Lake Ozark Man is Planning Better Christmas After Winning $10,000

Story Photo A Lake Ozark man said he and his family were planning a "hard-candy Christmas," but after winning $10,000 instantly, he’s now planning a "nuts-and-chocolate Christmas." Stephen "Steve" Helmka, 49, said he stopped by Break Time, 2559 Bagnell Dam Blvd. in Lake Ozark, on Nov. 17 to buy a cappuccino when he bought one $5 "Merry Money" Scratchers ticket. "I took it back out to my truck to scratch it," Helmka said about the Scratchers ticket. "I went back in to have them check it for me because I couldn’t believe it. I think I got a hug from everyone in there." Helmka said with one daughter who is a senior in high school and another daughter who is in college, he said the money came at a "perfect time" for he and his wife, Robin. "I called my wife to tell her I was heading to Jefferson City," Helmka said. "She couldn’t believe it. She started to cry on the phone." Helmka, who work as a subcontractor for Windows & More, said he plans to use his money to pay bills, spend some on Christmas, help his oldest daughter with some college bills and help buy his younger daughter a more reliable car. "Merry Money" is a $5 holiday-theme game, offering a top prize of $100,000. The game officially started on Oct. 29.

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