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Joliet man wins $1 million in scratch-off lottery game

Cleo Miers Joliet (left) is presented an oversized check for one millidollars Tuesday June 26 2012 by Illinois Lottery regional

Cleo Miers, of Joliet, (left) is presented an oversized check for one million dollars Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by Illinois Lottery regional manager Barry Karpiel at Gardner Food Mart in Joliet, where he purchased the winning Cash Spectacular game instant ticket. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 26, 2012 4:53PM



Persistence has paid off big time for a Joliet man with a penchant for scratch-off lottery games.

Cleodoa Miers, 55, walked out of the Gardner Food Mart in Joliet last week with a $10 instant Cash Spectacular game card worth $1 million.

Miers, who recycles scrap metal for a living, had his picture taken in the store holding an oversized check from the Illinois Lottery on Tuesday as his wife, Shawnaa Miers, watched.

“I don’t know why you can’t get him to smile, that’s all he does is smile,” she said, after an Illinois Lottery official urged Miers to smile bigger for the picture.

Maybe it was the fact that Miers plays scratch-off games daily and was due for a win. Maybe it’s the store — Miers won $10,000 in a scratch-off game he bought there about two years ago.

Or maybe Miers has luck on his side.

“I’m not lucky, I got a gambling problem,” he said, laughing.

Mohammad Eid, owner of the store, said Miers “just went crazy” when he scratched off the ticket in the store and saw what he had won.

“He said, ‘We got some money on it.’ I said, ‘Get out of here,’” Eid said. “He said ‘We got a million,’ and I said, ‘We don’t get a million out here!’”

Miers popped the card in a ticket validation machine, which told him to file a claim for his winnings.

“I said, ‘Check this and see what it says,’” Miers said. “(Eid) said, ‘Oh my God!’”

The men said they hugged each other before Eid ran outside to show the ticket to Shawnaa, who was waiting in their car.

“I thought it was a fake ticket,” she said. “It still hasn’t sunk in.”

The store will get $10,000 as a commission, which Eid said he plans to invest in the store.

The Mierses said they have not yet decided what they will do with the money.

The Cash Spectacular instant win game rolled out in September 2011 with 25 $1 million winning cards in circulation.

There are 13 more $1 million prizes yet to be discovered among the game cards, said Micaela Small, a winner awareness specialist for the Illinois Lottery.

“There are 13 more out there, y’all better get them before I get to them!” Miers said, laughing.



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