U.P. man hits lottery jackpot

LANSING – Jeff LaBar of Manistique has played the Michigan State Lottery’s Lotto 47 game for as long as he can recall. It finally paid off. He won the game’s $3.3 million jackpot last week.

LaBar matched all six winning numbers from the May 21 drawing – 14-18-23-28-37-40 – to win the jackpot. He bought the winning ticket at his usual spot, the Shell station owned by Lakeshore Oil Company at 1028 W. U.S. 2 in Manistique. LaBar elected to receive his winnings in a one-time lump sum payment of more than $2.1 million.

“My brother was the one to tell me that someone in our area had won,” said LaBar. “I thought ‘That’s really good for them.’ I didn’t even think to check my ticket until he asked if I was the winner. I only checked my ticket once and I didn’t have to look again. It was a total rush, there were a lot of emotions and a lot of tears when I found out I had won.”

The jackpot couldn’t have come at a better time for LaBar and his wife, Heidi. After some unfortunate luck, the couple’s home fell into foreclosure and they just recently got themselves back on their feet.

“I’ve played Lotto 47 for a long time and have prayed about hitting the jackpot,” said LaBar. “God has truly answered my prayers and I am so thankful for his blessings.”

LaBar plans to continue operating his chicken farm, but is going to use a portion of his winnings to take his wife to Hawaii and the southeast part of the United States to visit family.

Each Lotto 47 play is $1. Players select six numbers from one to 47 for a chance to win a jackpot starting at $1 million that grows until someone wins it.

About 95 cents of every dollar spent on lottery tickets is returned to the state in the form of contributions to the state School Aid Fund, prizes to players and commissions to retailers. In the 2013 fiscal year, the contribution to schools was $734.3 million. Since it began in 1972, the Lottery has contributed more than $18 billion to education in Michigan, lottery officials said.