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W.Va. lottery winner buys trucks for fire depts.

After the Big WinAfter the Big Win: W.Va. lottery winner buys trucks for fire depts.
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A West Virginia Powerball lottery winner known for his generosity recently turned his charitable ways toward the purchase of new vehicles and equipment for area fire departments.

On Thursday, W. Randy Smith gave away a lot more of his money, this time, a little more than $1 million.

Six Berkeley County fire departments each got a Ford F-350, four-wheel-drive, four-door pickup truck equipped with snow plows and walk-behind snow blowers.

The idea of such specially equipped vehicles is to plow a path for following ambulances and emergency vehicles to ensure that they can get to a victim's home, Smith said.

Emergency crews can use the snow blowers to clear a path to the door. "I remember last year's blizzards. I was stuck at home like everybody else, and I had my scanner on. Emergency crews were not able to get through the snow," he said. He remembers thinking during the storm that if he ever won the lottery, he'd buy the county's fire departments vehicles that could plow through heavy snow.

Fifteen months later, Smith made good on his fantasy after winning $79 million on Aug. 23 in the Powerball lottery and ending up with $44 million before taxes by accepting a lump-sum payment.

The six trucks, costing a total of $240,000, were delivered by Smith in a ceremony on a Raleigh Street parking lot Thursday afternoon.

All came fully equipped, down to the color scheme and lettering of the individual departments.

Ed Gochenour, deputy director of Berkeley County's Emergency Management, showed off his company's new truck. It will replace an aging 1986 unit in Co. 90.

The new trucks will assist the fire companies' mainline vehicles or function as a substitute for larger fire engines when a smaller truck will suffice for a call, such as in the cleanup of an fuel spill, Gochenour said.

One department plans to use its new truck for brush fires, he said.

Smith's largess also included new four-wheel-drive ambulances for the Hedgesville and Baker Heights fire departments for a combined cost of $280,000.

He also announced Thursday the $220,000 purchase of an armored personnel carrier for the SWAT teams to rescue victims in hostage situations or in a firing zone.

"It's a military-based vehicle capable of surviving a 50-caliber round," Smith said.

Although based in Berkeley County, the unit can be used anywhere in the state. It's the only one in West Virginia, he said.

Also thanks to Smith, a $150,000 mobile forensic law-enforcement unit to preserve and transport crime scene evidence is now in the hands of the West Virginia State Police in Martinsburg and will be available for detachments in nine eastern counties.

In addition, the Martinsburg City Police Department is getting a live-scan fingerprinting system and improvements to its firing range for a total gift of $100,000. "I wish we had some of these things when I was in the sheriff's department," Smith said.

Smith began his philanthropic effort last year by establishing the W. Randy Smith Family Fund with $5 million.

In November he donated $500,000 to the Hospice of the Panhandle's building fund.

Smith, 63, graduated from Martinsburg High School in 1965 and worked at Corning Glass for 10 years. He followed that with a 12-year career as a Berkeley County deputy sheriff.

In 2000, he was elected sheriff and re-elected in 2004. In 2008 he was elected to a four-year term as a Berkeley County magistrate, but stepped down after he won the Powerball.

Popular in the community even before he became rich, he said his wealth has some good points and some not-so-good. He's always bought lottery tickets and still does, Smith said.

"One day I was in line at a convenience store to buy a ticket when a woman behind me I didn't even know started to chew me out. She asked me if I didn't think I already had enough money and that I was being greedy," he said. "I don't know of a rule that says you can't have too much money, or you can't do too much good. If I win more money, I could build the whole hospice building."

He said another bother is that people often approach him asking for money for all kinds of reasons. "They think of me as a walking ATM machine," he said.

Friends say that to know Randy Smith now is to see him much like he was before he won all that money.

He still lives in the same house he had before the lottery. And far-off vacations don't interest him, he said. "I've only been away from home once, to Ocean City for three days.

Someday, I'd like to see my own country, but I'd drive," he said.

However, his newfound wealth did teach him one thing, he said. "Money doesn't make you happier, but it does make living a lot easier."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Herald Mail, Lottery Post Staff

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16 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by butterflykt.
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Piaceri's avatar - sarsony1
Wannabe Won Percenter
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Posted: May 15, 2011, 11:04 am - IP Logged

Nice job! God bless this man, and keep the weirdos away.

 

"Money doesn't make you happier, but it does make living a lot easier." <-- Absolutely. Cool

face

singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner   

    joshuacloak's avatar - avatar 23415.gif

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    Posted: May 15, 2011, 11:11 am - IP Logged

    glad to see i think a happy story so far for him :D

    guy was sheriff for berkeley,  so it makes sense he Help out firefighters,cops if they needed it ,

     

    as  for the best part

    "They think of me as a walking ATM machine"

    once a again a winner proves everyone point on this forum, claim it in a freaking trust and be anonymous to everyone

    am not a walking ATM machine and nor are any  of you on this forum"i think lol"

    i also Am Mad as hell at that random Rude, lady,  talking down right rude to him, thinking hes greedy

    Hi lady, that Winner, that your so being a sore loser To, is Helping future jackpot grows, stfu and hope he Buys a ton of tickets, ever ticket helps your jackpot

    its clear this lady was not thinking and was just being a evil sore loser, a$%

      CowboysFan's avatar - Cowboys
      Sunny California
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      Posted: May 15, 2011, 11:11 am - IP Logged

      Well done Mr. Smith!Hurray!

        dpoly1's avatar - driver
        PA
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        Posted: May 15, 2011, 1:00 pm - IP Logged

        This is how it is meant to be in America!

        US Flag

         

        Much better than confiscatory Federal Taxes going to the lazy greed of envy class! Crying

          hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

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          Posted: May 15, 2011, 1:26 pm - IP Logged

          Yes Nod

            wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

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            Posted: May 15, 2011, 1:53 pm - IP Logged

            Thank you Mr. Smith for sharing your good fortune with worthy causes. Thumbs Up

              rdgrnr's avatar - walt
              Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
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              Posted: May 15, 2011, 4:06 pm - IP Logged

              You're a good man, Mr Smith.

              There used to be a lot more people like you in this country than there are now.

              And that's a shame.


                                                           
                                   
                                                       

               

               

               

               

                                                                                                                 

              "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                          --Edmund Burke

               

               

                sully16's avatar - sharan
                Listens to the wind
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                Posted: May 15, 2011, 4:51 pm - IP Logged

                Congrats Mr. Smith, you are an inspiration, Thank you !

                There's only one US Flag

                  dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                  Oklahoma
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                  Posted: May 15, 2011, 4:58 pm - IP Logged

                  I love these kind of storiesThumbs Up.......WTG Mr. SmithHurray!

                    HaveABall's avatar - rocket

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                    Posted: May 16, 2011, 12:24 am - IP Logged

                    Mr. Smith, I think your creative gifts to the state of West Virginia's government agencies have been great for those employees PLUS the citizens that will benefit from them!  It's inspiring, to me, how after collecting your exciting lottery jackpot win of approximately $25.74 million dollars net, that you've already given approximately $6 million dollars to them. 

                    I hope that your remaining $19 million or so will grow in investments for you so that if you're still interested you can continue to fund your creative gift giving ideas that benefit numerous overall, and/or also get the opportunity to visit whichever other state within our country that your dreams have been peaking your interests towards.  Regardless, I hope you have fun in either or both pursuit. 

                    When someone wins more than a seven figure net jackpot, the possibilities for spending dollars sure do open up in exciting ways (after winner socks money away so that they can live beyond comfortable to a projection of living to 100 years of age ... because more and more folks are doing this over the past century, so the potential isn't too rare)!

                    Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies

                      Avatar

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                      Posted: May 16, 2011, 4:46 am - IP Logged

                      Before the time of BIG government, this was how we did things in America.  Now most people with this kinda money hord it and are afraid to help.  This is a clear example of WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING once we as citizens reach this level of achievement. 

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                        dpoly1's avatar - driver
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                        Posted: May 16, 2011, 9:56 am - IP Logged

                        Before the time of BIG government, this was how we did things in America.  Now most people with this kinda money hord it and are afraid to help.  This is a clear example of WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING once we as citizens reach this level of achievement. 

                        US Flag

                        Thank you for being someone that gets what made America GREAT!

                        Don't Tread On On Me US Flag

                          JordanT1021's avatar - Lottery-046.jpg
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                          Posted: May 16, 2011, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

                          this is a great story... with his incredible and generous donation, he will be the kind of person where " lightning " will strike twice

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                            Posted: May 16, 2011, 3:08 pm - IP Logged

                            Good for Mr. Smith....It was a good thing he did helping his community instead of being caught in seedy strip clubs drunk with $500 Grand stolen from his car!   Hopefully this guy and his good deeds can party erase the negative press from a certain other Lottery winner from WV...The Good People of WV deserve better.   

                            (Now Having said that.....)

                            I kind of lost my good feeling when the guy bought an Armored Personel Carrier for the Police.   I know their are criminals out there who have no reguard for human life and the police need to get them off the street but...our police force was never suppossed to be a Para-Military force!   Also why coudn't the hard earned tax money taken from West Virginians and all Americans have paid for this?  Didn't we have two HUGE SPENDING bills from the Dems?    Couldn't some of the money from one of these Billion Dollar spending bills have paid for this instead of going into the pockets of more Unions or Political groups?  (Sorry everyone for the rant! LOL! Rant