Everyone has daydreamed about winning the lottery at some point in their lives. The idea that you could buy whatever your heart desires and still never have to worry about money again is exhilarating. It has inspired millions of people to purchase tickets for the Jackpot, hoping to be the lucky winners just once.
When small-town Missouri couple Mark and Cindy Hill won the Jackpot, they took an unconventional route to invest their recently acquired millions of dollars. The unique way that they decided to spend their cash left their town dumbstruck and amazed.
Like many other lottery winners, Cindy and Mark were regular working-class citizens before scoring the Jackpot. The couple hailed from Dearborn, Missouri, and were the happy parents of three adult sons. They also had an adopted daughter, the six-year-old Jade. Despite not having much money, the Hills were contented.
Unfortunately, in 2010, Cindy was laid off from her office management job and couldn’t find a new position. Mark worked as a mechanic at a Hillshire Brand meat-packaging plant but wasn’t bringing home enough bacon to support the family. So, Cindy’s unemployment led to financial troubles for the Hill’s.
Cindy, Mark, and their family had it tough for a while; with only one breadwinner in their household, they struggled to put food on the table. Cindy kept searching for a new job, but to no avail. Money struggles can be severely disheartening, and they tried not to lose hope of a brighter future.
Due to the Great Recession that started in 2008, opportunities were scarce, and unemployment in Dearborn, MS was the highest it had been in years. So, out of options, Cindy decided to become a stay-at-home mom for the couple’s young daughter Jade.
However, the family only sunk deeper into financial stress, and Cindy had to think of a way to make some quick cash. She looked for something part-time so that she could remain home with Jade as much as possible. Cindy was hired as a server and supplemented with other temp jobs that she found.
The mother had to find a way to be at home with her daughter after school, and she was scared she wouldn’t be able to earn enough part-time. However, she was willing to fight for her family and soon found a possible solution to their troubles.
Accosted by billboards advertising the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot, Cindy Hill decided to take a chance and purchased five lottery tickets at Trex Mart, Dearborn’s gas station. Cindy spent ten dollars altogether, and instead of picking out the digits herself, she let the computer decide.
Of course, she couldn’t build her hopes up, aware that statistically, her chances of winning were minuscule. So when she got home, Cindy left the tickets in the car and forgot about them. She had no idea that the impulsive lottery purchase would change everything for her; otherwise, she would have brought the fateful tickets inside.
When Jade got home from school, Cindy told her about the lottery tickets wistfully. However, the realistic mother explained that winning the lottery never really happens and that even dreaming about winning is silly. Although, all of Cindy’s theories were overturned when she took Jade to school the following morning.
On her way home, Cindy was listening to the radio and heard that there had been a jackpot winner in her home state of Missouri. So, Cindy to stop at a convenience store and check what the winning numbers were, just in case it was her after all.
While checking the winning jackpot numbers, Cindy went through her five lottery tickets and found that she was holding the golden ticket; she had won! She was dumbstruck and called her husband and mother-in-law, asking them to come home and double-check the tickets to make sure she wasn’t mistaken.
Cindy called Mark in hysterics, telling him that she thought she might be having a heart attack because they’d won the Jackpot. Mark listened to his wife in disbelief, sure that she was hallucinating but excited at the off chance that Cindy was correct.
The Hill family had won half of the 587.5-million-dollar Powerball jackpot. As a result, they were about to receive a little over 293 million dollars. With that kind of money, the Hills could make sure that they and their children never had to struggle to put food on the table again.
For Mark, it meant that he could finally quit his demanding full-time job at the meat-packaging factory and get some R&R. Financial problems forgotten; the couple could kick back and have some well-deserved fun. However, the Hills chose to use their winnings a little differently.
Mark Hill was so ecstatic that he wanted to share his excitement with his friends, and he wrote a Facebook post detailing their family’s happy news. Suddenly Mark and Cindy were bombarded with friend requests; they had gained instant popularity. Naturally, people wanted to befriend the lucky winners, hoping to reap some of the benefits.
Originally Mark had only wanted to reveal his fortune to his loved ones, but people’s desperate reactions made him think. The couple remembered that just days earlier, they’d struggled financially themselves. So the Hills began to contemplate whether there was something they could do to help people.
The Hills took it easy after the Jackpot, not spending capriciously. They tried not to be materialistic and considered adopting another child in need or thinking of another way to help people. Jade begged for a pony, but the humble Hills chose instead to pay off their debts.
They chose not to make any rash buys and instead made sure to fix their immediate issues. The excitement had made Cindy tired, and all she really wanted was a good long nap. However, her journey was far from over, and it would be a while until life would feel normal.
Cindy’s lottery prize was the biggest jackpot win in the history of the state of Missouri. So when the state’s residents heard that the fateful ticket had been purchased at the Trex Mart in Dearborn, the store suddenly became exceedingly popular to the delight of its owners and staff.
The Trex Mart’s employees were not only happy for the Hills. As the store that sold the winning ticket, the Trex Mart itself also received 50,000 dollars. The staff of the humble gas station was blown away by how awesome and exciting the win was for their business.
The owner of Dearborn’s Trex Mart, Lowell Hartell, was also grateful to Cindy for buying the winning ticket at his small business. Hartell acknowledged that the Hills’ luck had given his store a lot of publicity. Furthermore, he believed that the win was positive for the town of Dearborn.
As such a small town, with a population of only about five hundred people, the media attention gained by the jackpot win went a long way. Hartell was also happy that such a generous and deserving family had won. Little did he know how helpful the Hills would prove to be.
One of the Hills’ first moves following their victory was to take Jade to the beach. The young girl had never been before and could finally fulfill her dream to see the ocean. Mark also indulged a bit, but instead of purchasing a shiny red Camaro, he bought a new pickup truck.
Their next move was to start planning ahead. The Hills put money aside for Jade, their nieces and nephews, and their grandkids, opening college funds for everyone and securing their family’s future. What they did after that was what shocked the town of Dearborn to its core.
Despite the Jackpot posing a solution to their financial problems, the Hills knew that their new situation was complex. Their family was suddenly receiving quite a lot of attention from the media; the announcement of their new fortune had reached far and wide. Cindy knew she should be grateful; however, she was worried.
Mrs. Hill knew that not everyone was happy for them and that many people were dangerously jealous; she knew that despite their millions, they must remain modest to protect their family. So, the big-hearted Hills opened a foundation that supports adoption and contributes to students.
Due to their ample resources, the Hills were able to travel and take time off; this was a first for them. Mark and Cindy were thankful for the opportunity to rest and have a vacation without worrying about money finally. They had scrimped and saved for long enough.
They decided to visit China, the country where Jade, their adopted daughter, was from originally. On the way back from the East, they toured around Ireland, which was their ancestral home. It was fun for the Hills to experience and learn new things in different environments, with no financial burdens.
The Hills spent three months abroad before returning home to Dearborn. They were small-town folk at heart and had missed Missouri. Cindy and Mark chose to continue building their lives there, uninterested in moving. But, despite their modest choices, not everything was as simple as they’d wished.
Some local people became increasingly speculative about how the Hills would spend their cash. A few nosey neighbors went as far as attempting to creep onto the Hills property to observe what the family was doing. Unsure how far people would go, the Hill family was scared to fall prey to dangerous burglars.
Despite or perhaps because of their fears, Mark and Cindy began moving forward with the plans for the money they had won. With no time to waste, they began implementing their vision to aid the less fortunate and make life in their small Missouri community better.
The couple began their humanitarian generosity with a few civic projects in Mark’s hometown of Camden Point, Missouri. Camden Point’s locals were blown away by the couple’s donations; they couldn’t believe the benevolence of the Hill family. They appreciated all the help their town had received.
Camden Point’s fire department chief, Walt Stubbs, is a family friend of the Hills and offered high praise about them. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Stubbs told the world how traditional and conservative they are and expressed thanks for the wonderful projects the Hills had completed for his town.
No doubt Stubbs was referring to the new fire station that the Hills had financed for Camden Point. The new building was large enough to hold an ambulance on call, besides its firetrucks. More upgraded factors were the station’s recent living quarters and easy connection to the main road.
The estimated time Walter believed it would have taken Camden Point to build a fire station of such merit without the Hills help was approximately twenty-five years. The Hills contribution made life better for the station’s heroic firefighters while also meaning a lot to Mark Hill personally.
This project held special significance for Mark because his father’s life had been saved twice by the fire department of Camden Point. Mark knew that no amount of money would repay his debt to these local heroes, who saved lives daily. However, he hoped that upgrading their station would make their job easier.
Mark Hill was delighted to contribute to his hometown’s welfare. The rural Platte County town was home to less than five hundred souls, who now had an ambulance at their disposal full-time. A 24/7 ambulance is a privilege that far larger towns lack and was guaranteed to save many lives.
Before Cindy and Mark’s donation, if a crisis occurred in the town of Camden Point, the residents at risk would have to wait until an ambulance from a larger neighboring town could arrive. With the new facilities, both the fire trucks and the ambulance had quicker access to emergencies.
The charitable couple wasn’t done donating to the town just yet. Next, they built a community ball field far away from dangerous traffic where the neighborhood kids could safely play. The Hills also gave fifty thousand dollars to the city hall for purchasing land to build an updated sewage treatment plant.
The new plant would minimize the need for private septic tanks and bring Camden Point into the 21st century. The then-mayor of the town, Kevin Boydston, was especially shocked by the beautiful donations of Cindy and Mark, in disbelief at their practical and down-to-earth endowments.
The mayor expressed gratitude that the Hills were giving back to their community. He explained that they had promised they would when receiving the prize money, and it was amazing that they had followed through; Boydston felt that if anyone deserved the Jackpot, it was Mark and Cindy.
The inspiring couple went on to invest in the education of their local district. They chose the high school they’d both attended as their next recipient. This charitable act stemmed from their belief that the proper education of the next generation was crucial in creating a better future for the nation.
Mark and Cindy’s alma mater was North Platte High School in Dearborn, Missouri. The Hills were exceptionally sentimental about their time at North Platte High, mainly because they met during school and were sweethearts. Their good memories were just another reason to give back to their community and ensure its improved pedagogy.
The couple replenished the scholarship funds at Dearborn’s school, ensuring that no one would lack the money to get a diploma. The fact that many working-class Americans would receive a full education because of one couples’ generosity is truly sensational.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Shirley Hill, Mark’s mother expressed her pride,
she was blown away at Mark and Cindy’s grounded nature and the fact that they stuck to their word and helped the local community. Shirley had been shocked when Cindy called her to double-check the lottery numbers and confirm that she’d won.
They all knew how lucky they were to have won but also were relieved that nothing terrible had happened to them since the Jackpot, and no lives had been ruined. Statistically, about seventy percent of lottery winners lose their money within a year.
To thank them for their beautiful contributions to the town, Camden Point Fire Department organized a ceremony on July 16, 2016. They dedicated the new building to the Hills, opening the station house to the public for the event and throwing a community celebration to thank Mark and Cindy.
The Hills were grateful that the town was happy with their gifts; however, they weren’t interested in getting too much attention. The couple’s intentions were honest and humble, and the celebrations in their name only made them uncomfortable. Mark even said that he would have donated money anonymously if he could.
Steve Flock, the district board president of Fire Protection in Platte County, Missouri, was unable to find the words to express his awe of the Hill family’s donations. Flock stated that Mark and his wife’s generosity were boundless and felt that nothing he could do would fully convey his gratitude.
The magic of the Hills jackpot win was that they not only won themselves, but they also made their whole community feel like winners of the lottery. In addition, the fact that they upheld their morals and remained stable and grounded despite the temptations that money brings is admirable and uncommon.
The majority of people who win large amounts of money cannot deal with the unprecedented changes the cash brings to their lives. Don McNay, the author of Life Lessons from the Lottery, has even stated that the Hills were exceptional in maintaining stability.
McNay has proven that most people tend to collapse due to the stress and responsibility of such a fortune. Individuals fail due to wrong or no financial advice and experience. Others break under pressure from their loved ones who want a piece of the prize, and the least lucky winners are killed or robbed.
Often, Jackpot winners are unable to save their money long-term and spend it too quickly. One example of this phenomenon is Jack Whittaker, who in 2002 won the 315-million-dollar Jackpot. Jack was a millionaire even before his big win but somehow managed to go completely bankrupt four years after his victory.
Innumerable people have won millions in the lottery, only to make terrible investments or burn the entire fortune on impractical luxuries. The tendency to succumb to greed and temptation is great, and most winners surrender. However, the Hills chose a different path.
The notorious lottery lawyer Jason Kurland has offered some helpful advice for jackpot winners. In his opinion, the best way to handle such a win is to hire an expert to help. Unfortunately, most people don’t have the financial savvy to understand how to undergo such a trying process.
Kurland soundly suggests taking on an accountant, a lawyer, and a financial expert when winning big. He also recommends winners swiftly delete all social media accounts to minimize prying eyes and unwanted attention. Just don’t hire Kurland himself, who stole millions from his clients.
The inspiring Mark and Cindy Hill were the exception to the rule and did their best to help their community and provide for their family. The charitable couple proved that sharing was caring and took advantage of their luck to make the world a better place.
In 2019, Mark Hill passed away at fifty-nine and even in death continued to help his community. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that mourners and well-wishers donate money to the Camden Point Fire Department. Mark will forever be remembered for his extraordinary contributions to Platte County, Missouri.