Christmas arrives early for Santa’s helper

Lotto win is ‘life-changing’

A $500,000 Lottery Scratch-off winner in Indiana is a real-life Santa’s helper who plans to use his winnings to spread holiday cheer in his Indiana hometown.

Jeremy McFarland, Harrison, Ohio, is the first lucky player to claim a $500,000 prize on the Hoosier Lottery’s Holiday Riches Scratch-off. His story sounds like the premise of a made-for-TV holiday movie: A hardworking bricklayer is forced to work during Thanksgiving to get a job done, but still makes time to volunteer at a local children’s charity, setting off a chain of events that ushers in the best Christmas ever.

Thanks to a heavy overtime schedule and his volunteer work, McFarland found himself in the right place, Road Dog gas station at 606 Green Blvd. in Aurora, at the right time, Saturday, Nov. 28, to buy a $500,000 winning scratch-off ticket.

The busy bricklayer had just spent the afternoon being a real-life Santa’s helper, sorting and packing Christmas toys at a charity in Dearborn County. He was headed to his mother’s home nearby for a delayed Thanksgiving dinner when he stopped for gas and purchased the holiday-themed scratch-off ticket. McFarland scratched the ticket right away at the gas station, and immediately jumped in his truck and drove right back to the charity to share the unbelievable news!

“I’m definitely going to sponsor a needy child this Christmas!” said McFarland.

Not only did McFarland snag one of the two instant win $500,000 prizes available on the Holiday Riches game, he did it by matching three symbols that have significant meaning for him as a professional bricklayer and long-time holiday volunteer. McFarland’s winning symbols were three brick chimneys.

“I’m a bricklayer, and I won with three chimneys in a row,” said McFarland, who choked back tears as he claimed his winnings Dec. 7 at Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis.
In addition to spreading holiday cheer, McFarland plans to pay off all his bills and purchase a house. “This is life-changing,” said McFarland. “I’m still giddy.”

Hoosier Lottery distributions benefit every county throughout Indiana. The Hoosier Lottery contributes $30 million to local police and firefighters’ pensions and $30 million to the Teachers’ Retirement Fund. In fiscal year 2013, the Hoosier Lottery contributed $164.5 million to the Build Indiana Fund.

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