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Published: Friday, 10/21/2005

Lottery habit pays off for area man

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

McCOMB, Ohio - In more than 10 years of playing the lottery, Christopher Odenweller had never won more than $85 from any of the tickets he bought.

But the McComb man hit it big when a ticket he bought at a Fostoria carryout matched five numbers in the Mega Millions drawing Tuesday night. He claimed his $250,000 prize Wednesday at the Ohio Lottery Commission's regional office in Toledo.

Mr. Odenweller, 32, said he checked his ticket against the lottery numbers printed in a newspaper when he arrived home Wednesday morning from his third-shift job as a production supervisor for Honeywell, Inc., in Fostoria.

"I was in shock," he said. "It didn't seem real."

Mr. Odenweller was in for an even bigger shock when he logged on to the lottery commission's Web site to double-check the numbers and found out how much he had won.

"I figured it'd just be $5,000 or $10,000 if I was lucky," he said. "Then when I found a page on there that said $250,000, I was in disbelief."

After taxes, Mr. Odenweller will receive a check for $178,750.

He said he and his wife, Alison, plan to pay off their home and car loans and possibly put some money away for retirement and for college expenses for the couple's 5-year-old son, Drew, and 1-year-old daughter, Kendra.

They also are thinking about adding a family room and three-car garage to their house.

"We're going to try to get ourselves debt-free, and then we're going to look at adding on to our home," Mr. Odenweller said. "We'd like something bigger for entertaining friends and having people over."

He purchased his ticket - with the winning numbers 3, 12, 16, 32, 33 - by using the auto lotto feature from the Sterling Food Store at 1245 Countyline St. The Mega Ball number, which Mr. Odenweller didn't match, was 15.

Matching all six of the numbers would have made the ticket worth $90 million.

Marie Kilbane, a spokesman for the lottery commission, said Mr. Odenweller beat long odds - 1 in 3.9 million - to match the five numbers. In the past five years, 234 lottery players in Ohio have matched five of the six numbers in the Mega Millions game.

The jackpot for today's drawing is worth $108 million.

Contact Steve Murphy at:

smurphy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6078.



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