Robert Bytnar with his $4million oversized check
|For Immediate Release||Contact: Micaela Small 630-486-0658|
Du Quoin, IL—September 9, 2013 — “People are asking me how I can be so calm when I just won $4 million,” Bob Bytnar told Illinois Lottery staff after winning a top prize on a $4,000,000 Gold Bullion instant lottery ticket. “I tell them my Marine Corps training taught me to stay calm in extreme situations like this, and I tell them that I’m still in total disbelief!”
While sitting at his kitchen table last Tuesday, Bytnar scratched his ticket using the lucky washer he found in his shed a few years ago. When he realized he had won $4 million, he carefully signed the back of the ticket, put it in a little brown paper bag and drove to his daughter’s house to show it to her. “She and my granddaughter looked at the ticket and started shaking,” he said.
Bytnar served in the Marine Corps for six years during the Vietnam conflict. He has lived in Du Quoin for most of the past 45 years and currently owns Ye Olde Country Store, an ice cream shop in downtown Du Quoin. He also works in Marion as a night shift supervisor at General Dynamics. “Now I can retire from my night job and have a more normal schedule.” He also plans to pay debts and share the windfall with his three daughters and five grandchildren. “I’m going to ask them where they would like to go on vacation, and then I am going to take them anywhere they want.”
This is the second big lottery win for Bytnar. Five years ago, he won $100,000 playing Little Lotto (now Lucky Day Lotto.) “I believe the Lord knew I needed that money badly and all of it went to pay medical bills.” Three years ago, after 38 years of marriage, Bytnar lost his wife to cancer. “If only she could be here for this,” he said.
An occasional instant ticket player, Bytnar said when he buys tickets he always gets three at a time and always at Du Quoin Farm Fresh. While he doesn’t have a favorite game he said, “On this day, this ticket just caught my eye.” Choosing to take the annuity, Bytnar will receive $200,000 each year for 20 years, prior to withholding taxes. Du Quoin Farm Fresh will receive a bonus of $40,000, 1 percent of the prize amount, for selling the winning ticket.
Smiling, Bytnar said he has some advice to pass along to other lottery players. “There’s no guarantee you will win the lottery if you buy a ticket, but I guarantee you won’t win the lottery if you don’t buy one!”
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