He hoped this huge life change wouldn’t cause chaos in the family. “I hope we stay grounded. I hope we stay the great people we were yesterday and the day before,” he said.
But he had no idea just how things would turn out, nor could he have predicted it. Months later, his family was spread all over the state’s newspapers.
Mark and Cindy Hill enjoyed the life of the average American family before their lives completely changed.
They had four children; three adults, living away from home and one young daughter that was adopted from China. Family was everything to them and they wanted to make sure their children grew up to be decent people.
They were lucky that they never truly struggled for money but times started to get a little rough when Cindy lost her job. Mark worked at a meat processing plant but it didn’t pay enough for Mark to support the family on his own.
Although times were hard, Cindy and Mark never let their worries show. Growing up in a small town can do that…
Mark and Cindy lived in a small town called Camden Point in Missouri. It’s a town that has a reputation for being full of kind and modest people – just like Mark and Cindy.
Before Mark and Cindy, nothing much happened in this small town. But of course, they were about to change all of that.
One evening as Cindy drove home from looking for available jobs in the town’s bulletin boards, she stopped in a convenience store to grab some milk.
Advertisements for the upcoming Powerball drawing were everywhere. She sat in the car looking up at the giant jackpot and sighed. She went inside the store and grabbed some milk. She didn’t usually buy lotto tickets but something about her mood that day told her to buy five.
Later that night, she watched the live drawing. It was exciting to have a stack in it she thought, even if you don’t win anything but she didn’t have to worry about that!
At first, it was two numbers, then it became four and when all of her numbers matched the screen, she screamed for Mark. “I think I’m having a heart attack”, she said. It was the moment everything changed.
“She said, ‘I won the Lotto.’ I didn’t believe her for a couple of hours because I just thought she was pranking me and then taking it too far”, said Jarod, their oldest son.
But that was exactly what happened. The Hills won a jackpot of just under 300 million dollars. And although they celebrated and couldn’t believe their luck, the family were also nervous and fearful.
Too often you hear of people and families changing thanks to overnight financial success. Some lottery winners tell horror stories of how winning the lottery changed their lives for the worse.
Some become self-obsessed and greedy, others blow all their money and end up in desperate situations. The Hills were determined not to become one of those people.
Living in a small town, the news spread fast. It wasn’t long before everyone began to ask them what they were going to do with their money.
The Hills would always reply with caution, stating that they didn’t know what to do yet. But Cindy wanted to travel to China and Ireland for a holiday. But that didn’t satisfy people.
People suggested that they should buy a new house, and splurge on things they always wanted but Mark and Cindy felt too embarrassed.
Financial investors also advised them to invest and allow their money to make more money. But again, Mark and Cindy weren’t biting. It wasn’t until the newspaper covered a local story that everyone realized what the Hills decided to spend their money on.
In recent years, the local firefighter and emergency services in their town saved Mark’s dad twice. He never thought he’d be able to pay them back for what they did for his family but now, he finally could.
Mark and Cindy had a meeting with the Camden Point fire chief and offered to share a portion of their winnings with the station. But that’s not all.
They also went to visit the high school their children went to and set up a scholarship fund for talented students.
They also provided funds for the town’s new baseball field and donated money for the town to build a new sewage treatment plant. To everyone’s awe, they were spending money on developing the town they lived in. But what about themselves?
The Hills spent a little on themselves but only in the form of a new pick-up truck for Mark as his old one was in a very distressed condition.
When asked about how they were choosing to spend their money, Mark said that he thought that he was given this money as a gift to spend wisely. They were not shying away from the responsibility that comes with so much wealth. But they also admitted something else.
Cindy acknowledged that they were also nervous about the not-so-good things that come with winning the lotto like unwanted attention.
When asked if they would move to avoid unwanted attention, Cindy decidedly said, “We want our daughter to be raised here as well. We’ll stay in this area.”
The Mayor of Camden point, Kevin Boydston said, “I’ve said all along that these lottery winnings could not have gone to a better couple.”
And so far, it certainly looks like it. If you won the lotto, would you stay in your current home and invest in your local town? If so, maybe you’d give Mark and Cindy a run for their money!