Media:  Meet and interview Steve Smith and the store owner at Cira's Express Mini-Mart at 215 East Cleveland Road in Granger at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Granger man hits for a million!

Father-of-three plans to keep working seven days a week

INDIANAPOLIS - (Nov. 5, 2013) Steve Smith of Granger is the first lucky winner to claim a $1 million top prize on the new 50 X the Money Scratch-off.  He claimed his prize last Thursday at Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis with two of his three children in tow.

Smith STeve"No way!" was how Smith characterized his good fortune when he found himself holding a Hoosier Lottery ticket worth $1 million.

The St. Joseph County man and his wife Kim have three children ages 8 to 13. 

Smith is a regular at Cira's Express Mini-Mart at 215 East Cleveland Road in Granger where he purchased his lucky ticket and is well-known to the staff.  He made a special stop in the store to exchange high-fives with them all before he even claimed his winnings.

Smith's $1 million win is the largest ever for the store, but is the sixth significant win at the store since 1997.  Players in St. Joseph County scored wins in the amount of $10,000, $20,000 and $100,000 at the store between 2003 and 2006.

Smith works seven days a week and has for years. He has no plans to slow down even after winning a million dollars.  He owns a construction business with his brother and planned to work all weekend after claiming his winnings.

Don't mistake Smith's work ethic for indifference to his good fortune: He is absolutely beyond elated at his good fortune.  He was almost giddy as he talked about his plans to pay off his house and put in a swimming pool for his kids. With a wife and three children, there is no shortage of ways to put a million dollars to use: one daughter hopes to go shopping, and his wife has made it know she wouldn't mind a new car.

"You always think about winning when you buy tickets, but you never think it is going to happen to you!" said Smith.   

It did happen, and when it did, Smith elected to take the cash option of $772,826 and walked away with a little more than $553,000 (after taxes).

There are still two $1 million prizes unclaimed on the $10 game.

 The Hoosier Lottery reminds all players to play responsibly. Must be 18 or older to play.  Gambling Addiction Referral Line: 800-994-8448.

ABOUT THE HOOSIER LOTTERY: Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. Each fiscal year, the Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to police and firefighters' pensions, and $30 million to the Teacher's Retirement Fund. The remainder of Hoosier Lottery earnings help reduce motor vehicle excise taxes by 50 percent.


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Photo: Steve Smith presents his winning ticket at Hoosier Lottery headquarters Oct. 31.


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