Clare County Man Wins $25,000 a Year for Life Playing Lucky For Life

A Clare County man threw away a Lucky For Life ticket with a $25,000 a year for life prize, but realized it in time to pull it out of the trash.

“I bought a Lucky For Life ticket last Wednesday and then checked it on the Lottery’s website Thursday morning,” said Jeff Heinig, of Harrison. “I didn’t match any of the numbers on the site, so I threw my ticket away.

“I was back on the website Friday, and the Lucky For Life numbers caught my eye. They were the numbers I always play, and that’s when it hit me that I had checked my ticket before the drawing had happened. I searched high and low for the ticket, but couldn’t find it anywhere until I went rifling through the trash.

“When I found it, my heart was pounding. I called my wife, who was out running errands, and she immediately thought something was wrong. I told her I had good news and she needed to get home as soon as she could.”

The 59-year-old Heinig won the big prize by matching the five white balls drawn Thursday night: 03-04-08-16-27. He bought his winning ticket at the Harrison E-Z Mart, located at 701 North 1st Street in Harrison. Heinig is the 24th Michigan winner of a lifetime prize in the Lucky For Life game.

“We’ve had a rough start to the year,” said Wendy Heinig. “Earlier this year, Jeff had a massive heart attack and actually died three times before they saved his life. We’re all so fortunate to still have him with us, and winning this prize means we can enjoy doing some fun things together that we couldn’t have afforded before.”

Jeff and Wendy Heinig visited Lottery headquarters Monday to claim their big prize. They chose to receive their winnings as a one-time payment of $390,000, rather than annual payments of $25,000 for 20 years or life, whichever is greater. With their winnings, the Heinigs plan to pay bills, share with family, and take some vacations.

“I’m still searching for the words to describe winning, it’s so surreal,” said Jeff Heinig.

For just $2 per play, Lucky For Life gives Lottery players a chance to win prizes ranging from $3 to a lifetime of cash. To win the game’s top prize of $1,000 a day for life, players must match all five winning numbers ranging from 1 to 48, plus one Lucky Ball ranging from 1 to 18. Players who match all five winning numbers, but not the Lucky Ball, will win $25,000 a year for life. Lucky For Life drawings take place every Monday and Thursday at 10:35 p.m. Tickets may be purchased at Lottery retailers across the state.

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