Lottery 'legend' accompanies mom to claim prize
Updated Aug 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm: Fixed photo caption
Bernadette Gietka, the Maryland Lottery's largest winner to date, received a celebrity's welcome Friday at Maryland Lottery Headquarters.
Bernadette, and siblings Jerry and Lynda, brought their mother, Catherine, to 1800 Washington Blvd. to claim her $1,000 Multi-Match prize.
Greeted by Lottery Director Stephen Martino and applauded by Lottery staff, the humble multi-millionaire described her life post win.
"I contribute to a lot of charities," said Bernadette, who also cares for her 82-year-old mom. The philanthropic winner counts the Jerry Lewis Telethon among her causes and has met Jerry himself.
Taking a brief stroll down Memory Lane, Bernadette also recounted her appearance on Jay Leno and her marriage proposal from Colin Farrell. "Her father was watching and he didn't like it when he took her hand," said Bernadette's mom.
Bernadette is in complete control of all her business decisions and has made managing her $183 million windfall a full-time job. She also finds time to enjoy her new-found wealth, traveling with her family and purchasing properties.
"I love meeting so many different people," said Bernadette. "They are so sincere. So happy to meet you."
Before striking it rich, Berndatte worked five jobs to keep her head above water and says that her win still boggles her mind.
Catherine, the newest winner in the Geitka family, has written a book entitled "Mother of $183 Million Winner," which is on display at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center. Chatting amiably and exchanging embraces with Lottery staff as she was about to depart Bernadette said, "I feel like I'm home."
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