DEARBORN, Mo. — New millionaires, the family from Dearborn, Mo., proved to be what you would hope — endearing.
During a news conference from North Platte High School, mega winner Cindy Hill, a long-time resident of Dearborn, population 505, said she and her family are still in shock after winning $293,750,000.
Hill said she purchased the winning Powerball ticket — along with four others — Wednesday evening around 4:45 on a whim.
“I stuck it in my car and it stayed there all night,” she said.
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The next morning, after dropping her daughter off at school, Hill looked at the tickets and compared them to the winning numbers. But she didn’t have her glasses. So when the numbers matched, she wasn’t entirely sure. Hill said that’s when she drove over to her mother-in-law’s house to verify what she had hoped was true. After confirming the numbers with family, she called her husband, Mark. He didn’t believe her.
“He said, ‘You really got to show me the ticket before I can believe it,'” she said.
Contrary to reports on social media, Hill said the numbers were not chosen by using former Royals players. Instead, the numbers were “quick picked” — although Mark was able to rattle off the names of several Royals players whose numbers matched the winning ticket.
With the white-hot spotlight on their family, Cindy said she was unaware that it would be “like this” and admitted to getting nervous. She referred several times to expecting people to “come out of the woodwork” and added that “people are wanting to be really good friends with us now.”
One of Cindy and Mark’s sons, Jason, said he hopes that with all the money and attention his family can maintain its integrity.
“I hope we stay grounded,” he said. “I hope we stay the great people we were the day before.”
Just last year, Cindy and Mark were out of work, but eventually found employment.
“We’ve worked all our lives,” she said. “We know the value of a dollar. My husband is going to keep his same pickup — although he did say he wants a red Camaro.”
The Hill parents have a long history together. Cindy and Mark were high school sweethearts. Together they have three adult sons, Jason, Cody and Jarod and a six-year-old daughter named Jaiden whom they adopted.
When asked how they would use the money, Cindy said their priorities are family and charitable contributions.
“We have several charities we’re interested in,” she said, although the only one she listed by name was Shriner’s Hospital, which helped one of her sons when he was a child. Hill also said they are adoption advocates and are interested in contributing in some way to adoption services.
Following a big vacation next year and a pony for Jaiden — sometime in the future — Hill expressed an interest in investing in the local school district.
“We plan on setting up a scholarship fund in our district under our father-in-law’s name,” she said.
Longtime residents of northwest Missouri, Hill said they have no intention of leaving.
“This is home,” she said. “Our kids went to school here. We want our daughter to go to school here.”
As for what’s next for the Hills, Cindy said they’d like to sleep. It’s been a whirlwind since Thursday.