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Woman who won $1,500 in first state lottery wins $1 million 44 years later

Apr 5, 2018, 7:39 am

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Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Woman who won $1,500 in first state lottery wins $1 million 44 years laterRating:

Includes video report

Carol Vymetal says she just may be the luckiest woman in Woodridge.

Back in 1974, she won $1,500 in the Illinois Lottery's inaugural draw, and since then she's been a regular player, matching five numbers three or four times along the way.

But all that green pales in comparison to what Vymetal came away with as one of three people who won $1 million each in the St. Patrick's Day Millionaire Raffle.

"It doesn't make any difference if you win back the price of the ticket or if you win the big prize," Vymetal said Tuesday at Leo's Wine and Spirits in Woodridge, where she bought her lucky ticket. "It's just fun winning."

"The last time I hit five numbers and won good money was in the '90s," she said, "and I was unemployed at the time, so that was nice."

The retired AT&T bill processor said her strategy is always evolving.

"I do play every week, but it depends on the game. I'm not a same-game-every-day type of woman or anything," Vymetal said. "I don't have numbers. I don't go by birthdays. I don't do anything. I let the quick picks pick it for me and let the gods work it out."

While she has no grand plans for her winnings, Vymetal said she's eventually going to splurge on something.

"I need a car. I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata and it needs to be replaced," she said. "I'm looking at Jaguars. That doesn't mean I'm going to get one, though. Whatever it is, it's going to be blue."

Vymetal said her luck isn't limited to the lottery.

"I win raffles at bingo and things like that. I'm pretty lucky when it comes to winning stuff," she said. "My friends pick on me at the seniors club because I win the bingo all the time."

Tarik "Leo" Zayed, owner of Leo's Wine and Spirits, where Vymetal regularly buys her tickets, hopes that luck continues.

"The feel-good story for me is that not only have we finally sold a $1 million ticket but that a regular won it," Zayed said. "Carol is a wonderful woman. She's always been a great customer."

Jerre Stowers of Divernon and Kevin McInerney of Naperville were the other two big winners in the St. Patrick's Day raffle.

McInerny bought his ticket at Solo Liquors, 1474 E. Chicago Ave. in Naperville, and said he plans to use the dough for his children's education.

"Anything can happen," he said. "If the Cubs can win the World Series, then I can win the St. Patrick's Day Millionaire Raffle."

VIDEO: Watch the report


Daily Herald

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10 comments. Last comment 4 years ago by Bleudog101.
Page 1 of 1
CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
Central TN
United States
Member #121187
January 4, 2012
5636 Posts

Way ta go Carol !!!!!! Still believing and still playing  Thumbs Up

Integrity: There is no substitute.

"If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals . . . recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last."

    TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
    Brooklyn, NY
    United States
    Member #169716
    October 29, 2015
    1537 Posts

    Congrats on the big win Carol.

    It is possible, just has to be a "right time, right place" thing.

    Now, it's my time to win a big prize! Yes Nod

    The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

    “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

    Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

      music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
      Fresno, California
      United States
      Member #157849
      August 2, 2014
      3959 Posts

      Congratulations Carol Vymetal !!! A very lucky woman indeed. Will we see her again in the future? 

       "We are all in this together!" 

        Raven62's avatar - binary
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #17842
        June 28, 2005
        148586 Posts

        Play On Carol: Their's More Prizes to be Won!

        A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

        Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

        Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

        The best way to learn is to never stop being a student!

          * In hot pursuit of $ *
          White Shores- California
          United States
          Member #136471
          December 12, 2012
          6762 Posts

          “ It’s just fun winning!“  You said it Carol!Dance

           * Voice of Reason *   

          * People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

            United States
            Member #15143
            May 10, 2005
            454 Posts

            Congrats Carol V!

              zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
              South Carolina
              United States
              Member #77165
              July 15, 2009
              896 Posts

              Congratulations, Carol.  Persistence wins Smile

              Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

              “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

                dpoly1's avatar - driver
                United States
                Member #66139
                October 16, 2008
                1998 Posts

                Nice positive story.

                Way to go!


                dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -


                Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                  Artist77's avatar - batman14

                  United States
                  Member #121739
                  January 16, 2012
                  7813 Posts

                  She has a great attitude and inspired me to buy a quick pick. She is so cute!

                  His time is up.



                  Job killing


                    United States
                    Member #163182
                    January 22, 2015
                    2761 Posts

                    Congratulations Carol...you sound like a lot of fun to be around!