2008-06-17 14:13:45.39

Lottery Millionaires 'Paws' for a Cause At Humane Society

Story Photo Twenty-five Missouri Lottery-made millionaires and their families decided to “paws” for a cause on June 17 by volunteering their time at the Southwest Missouri Humane Society in Springfield.  The event was part of the 22nd annual Millionaires Reunion, held Springfield/Branson.  During the event, the millionaires gave the Springfield community something more valuable than money - their time.

“The past several years our millionaires have donated their time to various charities in the community where the reunion is held,” said Gary Gonder, director of integrated services for the Missouri Lottery.  “This year we chose the Southwest Missouri Humane Society.”

During this year’s event, the millionaires walked dogs and played with cats, visited with the animals and passed out treats, and assisted with general office duties.

“The Southwest Missouri Humane Society’s mission is to help alleviate the distress and suffering of animals,” said Bonnie Miller, executive director of the Southwest Missouri Humane Society.  “The Society also participates in educational programs, disseminates information to promote animal welfare, operates a shelter for animals in need of care, and places such animals in suitable homes when possible.”

The charitable event was just one of the activities held at this year’s Millionaires Reunion.  They will also hear a presentation entitled “Maximizing Effectiveness by Renewing the Body, Heart, Mind and Soul,” presented by Geri Wiseman, employee development manager for the Missouri Lottery and certified facilitator for Franklin Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Her presentation will help the millionaires become more effective in all dimensions of their lives.

"What makes the reunions so effective is the sharing of stories and meeting other people who have been through a life-changing jackpot win," Gonder said.

Gonder said the Missouri Lottery organizes these reunions, but the millionaires pay their own way.  The reunions move to different cities each year and provide a chance for the Lottery to educate winners about issues, such as becoming a more effective person, choosing financial and legal assistance, how to avoid scams, tax changes and emotional well-being topics.

Since it began in January 1986, the Lottery has created 253 millionaires, with prizes ranging from $1 million to $254 million.  The 25 millionaires attending this year’s Millionaires Reunion won a combined total of nearly $618 million.

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