Prize will allow couple to take it easy, travel
When Gary VanHooser won $2 on his scratch-off lottery ticket, he figured he'd re-invest it in a Ohio State Lottery Rolling Cash 5 game.
His ticket turnout to be the $421,000 winner.
"I just had the machine pick out numbers. I didn't even check them that night I play the lottery when I'm in town and I have some extra cash to spend on it," said the 74-year-old Sam's Club associate. "I didn't even check the numbers until the next day."
While sitting down for coffee at Crispie Creme Donut Shop, his favorite hangout, a friend suggested he check the paper for the lottery numbers.
"I didn't believe it at first," VanHooser said. "I had to have my friend look at the numbers. He said, 'unless that's a misprint, Van, I think you won.'"
He took a moment to compose himself and headed home to Kinnikinnick to tell his wife, Phyllis, the news.
"I didn't believe him at first, and than I asked him what this would mean," Phyllis said. "He told me it meant things would be a little easier."
VanHooser took home $290,490 after taxes and doesn't think he'll be returning to his night shift job at Sam's Club after his scheduled vacation at the end of the month.
"I feel like I don't get to see him so he'll be home more now, and I won't have to pack lunches anymore," Phyllis said.
The couple said the next plan on the horizon is to take a few trips in their RV with their dog, Maxie.
"It's a real blessing for us, that's how we see it," Gary said. "We can take some time to do things we've always wanted to do."
Phyllis said she would like to have the chance to travel to Hawaii and the couple may do so to celebrate their 55-year wedding anniversary this year.
"I've always wanted to go to Hawaii and I hear about how beautiful it is," she said. "I've never been there and now we may have the chance to do it."
So far, the VanHoosers don't have any big plans for the extra spending money and they say they'll likely stay where they are in Kinnikinnick.
"We're not going to buy a yacht, and we're not going to go crazy," Gary said. "I was born here in Kinnikinnick, and we've moved all around but now we're back to stay."