Ervin Smolinski, a World War II veteran in Michigan, has made a habit of sending lottery tickets as birthday gifts to family members, prompting some to return the favor. It’s become a tradition, he said, “and now everyone sends me scratch-offs and chocolate for my birthday.”
The one that arrived this month from his daughter-in-law for his 94th birthday paid off big time: The winning instant-game ticket in the Michigan Lottery was worth $300,000, the biggest prize possible.
The South Branch resident accepted the news with calm gratitude. “I had four Double Bonus Cashword tickets, and the big winner was the first one I scratched,” Smolinski said in a statement reported by the contest’s website, Michigan Lottery Connect.
“I’ve seen a lot in my time, and I don’t get worked up too easily,” the Navy veteran said. “I think my son-in-law was more worked up than I was.”
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