March 15, 2013
Gulf War vet from Valpo is the Hoosier Lottery's latest Lucky Millionaire
INDIANAPOLIS - Chris Ziegler, a Marine and Gulf War veteran from Valparaiso, Ind., won $1 million today in downtown Indianapolis as part of the Hoosier Lottery's Lucky Millionaire second-chance promotion.
Ziegler, who currently works as an EMT on an ambulance and is a father of four, was one of five randomly-selected finalists eligible to win the $1 million prize.
"Right now, I'm just trying to comprehend it," said Ziegler. "It feels amazing to know that we'll have that much money to take care of things, that the kids will be taken care of."
If Ziegler's name sounds familiar it is because this wasn't his first shot at the Lucky Millionaire prize.
Ziegler was a finalist in the previous Lucky Millionaire drawing in September 2012. He didn't walk away with the million dollars that time (the prize went to Greg Langel of South Bend), so he kept entering his non-winning tickets into the mylottery second-chance drawing. In January, one of his entries was drawn, entitling him to a place in today's million-dollar drawing.
"Everything happens for a reason," said Chris's wife Amy. "By not winning the first time, it feels that much more surreal."
"You always see people who win a million and think, 'I wish that was me.' It's just surreal," said Chris.
With four children ranging in age from two years old to 15 years old, Ziegler and his wife have no shortage of ways to use their winnings.
"We're going to spoil each of them with something really nice," said Chris. "They'll each get to pick out one nice thing."
Before they go shopping, the couple plans to meet with a financial advisor to assess their options. They want to purchase a house and pay off their cars, but first they plan to take some time to sort out their options in order to make their winnings work for them in the long run.
"We want to be smart about it," said Chris.
"We're still going to work full-time," said Amy, who works as an emergency room RN. "This just gives us options."
The other four finalists were Michael Richardson of Warsaw, Lorrie Warner of Warsaw, Bonita Henson-Turner of Crete, IL and Shane Dorsett of Bedford.
Players may continue to enter their non-winning Lucky Millionaire tickets for a chance to be a finalist in the third and final mylottery Lucky Millionaire second-chance drawing. A date for that drawing has not been announced.