2007-02-16 16:55:06.19

Gerald Man Wins Lottery Top Prize

Story Photo video icon Joseph Braun, Gerald, was the first person to claim a top prize of $250,000 in the Missouri Lottery’s "$250,000 Mega Cash" Scratchers game. Braun, 23, purchased his ticket at Gerald Conoco, E. 40 Fitzgerald Ave. in Gerald on Feb. 13.
Braun had a winning Scratchers ticket worth $10 and three winning tickets worth $2 each that he bought prior to Feb. 13. He told his girlfriend, Gina, to get him a couple of tickets with the prize money.
"She didn’t want to get the wrong one," Braun said. "So, I got one ($10) ticket and $6."
The one ticket he got was the $10 game "$250,000 Mega Cash." Braun’s girlfriend scratched the ticket for him while he was driving. She uncovered a winning number, and couldn’t believe that he had won the top prize of $250,000.
"I pulled over," Braun said. "She was screaming, and I was screaming."
Braun plans to use his prize money to pay off his truck and other bills. He also plans to invest some of the money to buy a house.
"I was going to sell the truck to buy a house," Braun said. "I didn’t want two payments. Now, I won’t have to."
Braun said he travels with his job replacing and installing conveyor belts, so he buys Scratchers tickets in Missouri and other states. He said he has won small prizes before, but never anything this big. Braun’s uncle, Ronnie Thomeczek, works and travels with him. In the past, Thomeczek has teased Braun about retiring with his Lottery winnings.
"You can’t retire on $10," Thomeczek would say.
"I think $250,000 is a good start," Braun said.
The $10 game "$250,000 Mega Cash" began on Jan. 31. It offers 30 top prizes of $250,000 and more than $100 million in cash prizes.

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