2011-02-14 16:38:40.703

Illinois Woman First to Claim $50,000 Top Prize in Missouri Game

Story Photo audio icon An Illinois woman, devoted to playing Missouri Lottery Scratchers games, is the first person to claim a top prize of $50,000 in “Bonus Word Crossword.” Kristie Kersch, 51, uncovered the prize while she was snuggled up at her Rockport, Ill., home on Feb. 7.

“I never scratch it (Scratchers tickets) in the store,” Kersch began.  “It takes up too much time. I was getting under the warm covers and scratching it in the bed.”

She didn’t stay cozy under the covers for long, because moments after settling into her bed, she scratched off a $50,000 prize.

“I jumped up, and said, ‘Okay!’ she exclaimed. “I had to check it and triple check it.”

Her next step was to call the clerk and her long-time friend who sold her the winning ticket at Ayerco, 222 Mansion St., in Louisiana.

“She said, ‘You’ve got to bring that ticket in and show me,” recalled Kersch. So, I did,” “I was excited. Everybody was excited.”

When asked about plans for the windfall, she had a few ideas.

“I need to put some more money back in my IRA that I used when I didn’t have a job,” she said. “I need to fix my roof. That’s going to cost at least $7,000. I’m going to get my sewer fixed. I’ve got a lot of things that I need to do with it!”

The certified medical assistant at a Louisiana assisted living facility said news of the win didn’t take long to spread to co-workers and patients. 

“Everybody at work knew it,” she shared. “Even the residents at work were asking me this morning when I was passing meds.”

When asked to sum up the entire Lottery-winning experience, she said it was “just a miracle.”

"Bonus Word Crossword," a $5 game with a top prize of $77,000, officially began on Dec. 4, 2010. "Bonus Word Crossword" is a $3 game with a top prize of $50,000.

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