DU QUOIN — Stephen Dickerson’s Sunday was going pretty much as it usually does when his financial life changed.

Dickerson woke up and puttered around online for about 45 minutes at the Dowell home he shares with his brother, Brian. Dickerson said he did not really think about checking the Illinois Lottery website before he logged off.

Once he finally checked, Dickerson noticed one winning ticket in the Sept. 22 drawing had been sold in Illinois. Although he only had a 1 in 5.5-million chance of winning, Dickerson checked his numbers.

After about 35 double-checks, Dickerson headed to his brother’s room.

“Brian, I think I just won $1 million,” Dickerson recalled during a news conference Wednesday at the One Stop Smoke Shop and Liquor in Du Quoin where he purchased the ticket.

“It still seems a little surreal, to be honest with you,” he said.

Maybe the worst part for Dickerson was waiting a couple days to drive to the Springfield lottery office with his mother, Sherri Ford, to claim his prize. He kept the ticket stored in a fireproof safe.

Dickerson’s winning take was $700,000 after withholding taxes were deducted. The convenience store got $10,000.

Dickerson said nobody has asked for a loan yet, but his friends have mentioned the windfall when it’s time to pay for lunch or a round of golf.

“I’ve heard every joke that there is about that,” he said.

Dickerson said he is going to invest the majority of his winnings, minus, of course, a few purchases.

He said he would take his mother on a Hawaiian vacation. He’ll also pick up some new golf clubs and replace his 14-year-old vehicle with a newer, used ride.

Other than that, Dickerson said things would pretty much stay the same. He said he’s going to keep his job at the Staples office supplies store in Carbondale, where he’s worked for five years.

As for his plans for after Wednesday’s news conference, Dickerson said he would probably go home and mow his grass.


On Twitter: @DW_Norris_SI

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