Have you ever thought about what you would do if you became a multi-millionaire overnight? Would you go on a huge shopping spree? Quit your job and travel the world? Or maybe buy your parents a new house and pay off your kids’ college loans? We all have our own different ideas on how we’d spend our new fortune.
But regardless of how you would spend your multi-million dollars, everyone can agree on one thing: That kind of money would change your life forever. Well, that’s exactly what the Hill family found out in 2012. Overnight, this ordinary, down-to-earth family became the richest family in town. So how did they decide to spend their money exactly?
With the world at their doorstep, the Hill family had to decide what to do with their new fortune. The Hills immediately started making huge purchases left and right, leaving their friends and neighbors wondering if they ever really knew who this family actually was.
While we all dream of winning the lottery, very few of us will ever see this dream come true. Statistically, the odds of winning a lottery are 1 in 175 million! That number is hard to conceptualize, so I’ll explain it in other terms. You’re more likely to be eaten by a shark, have quintuplets (naturally), or get killed by fireworks than win the lottery!
Mark and Cindy Hill live in Dearborn, Missouri, a small town with a population of 500 people. It is the type of town where everyone knows each other. The couple has four children: three adult children who moved out in 2012, and a younger daughter that they adopted from China. The Hills had a reputation of being a nice, modest family.
Mark worked at a meat processing plant, but Cindy had lost her job a few months before they received a piece of life-changing news. But as modest as they were, the Hills still fantasized about what they would do if they won the lottery one day. Mark and Cindy kept noticing advertisements for the upcoming Powerball drawing. Could this be their chance?
The jackpot number kept climbing higher and higher, baffling anyone who happened to see it. Once the jackpot hit a record of $587.5 million, Cindy couldn’t resist. Mark and Cindy Hill knew that the odds were against them, but they purchased a lottery ticket anyway because what the heck? If you don’t buy a ticket, you’ll definitely never win.
So Cindy drove up to the closest gas station and bought five tickets. Cindy didn’t have any lucky numbers in mind, so she just let the computer pick numbers for her. As soon as the tickets were printed, the entire situation was out of her hands. She drove home and waited for the numbers to be read aloud.
Cindy and Mark waited for the live drawing. They knew that their chances of winning were extremely slim, but, that being said, it was still exciting waiting for the draw. I mean, the Hill family’s five tickets still meant that they had a chance of winning. The balls began to shuffle on their television screen, and Cindy and Mark sat on the couch with their fingers crossed.
Surprisingly, the first couple of numbers matched up. And then another one, and another one. Mark and Cindy stared at the television screen, bewildered at what was happening. When they finally put everything together, they realized they had just won the lottery! In the end, they won half of the jackpot, which came out to a whopping $293.7 million!
The Hills never planned on becoming multi-millionaires overnight. But, like all things in life, you can’t always plan for the future. After winning the lottery, this modest family became the talk of the town. Everyone, from the people in their town to newscasters around the country, asked the same thing. What will they do with their newfound fortune? This was a very good question.
Many people who win the lottery become completely different people. They leave their old life behind and go after bigger and better material things. Often times, big-time lottery winners spend their money so fast that they end up in debt. Other people let the money get to their heads and surround themselves with the wrong people. So what were the Hills going to do?
The Hills were well aware of the potential danger that came with their multi-million dollar winnings. It was never their aspiration to become high-rollers. They had had a great life up until this point, so why change it? Maybe instead of spending all of the money on themselves, they could give it away to other people?
Mark and Cindy thought long and hard about what they wanted to do with their money while spending a bit of it on themselves. Now that they weren’t tied down by their jobs, the world was their oyster. Cindy wanted to travel the world. “We want to go back to China, Ireland, of course – we’re Irish – and wherever the wind takes us,” she told reporters.
Mark contemplated buying a Camaro, but he settled on a new pickup truck instead. When it came to the rest of their money, the Hill family decided that it was best that they give back to their community. “For some reason (God) put it in our hands,” Cindy said at the press conference after winning the lottery. “I think to make sure it goes to the right things.”
So what exactly did Mark and Cindy decide to do with their money? Well, for starters, the Hill family thought of Mark’s father. In the years leading up to their lottery win, local firefighters had saved his life twice. The Hills were always very thankful for the firefighters, but how could they ever repay them?
The Hills thought that maybe they could help these local heroes, but how? So Mark and Cindy met with Walt Stubbs, the fire chief from Camden Point, Missouri, where Mark had grown up and where his father still lived. When the Hills met with Walt, they told him about their idea of sharing part of their winnings with the department.
Walt thought that Mark and Cindy were thinking of donating some new equipment, maybe even a new truck if he was lucky. But no. The Hills were much more generous than that. They told Walt that they intended to build a whole new fire station! The new fire station would be in a much better location, making it easier for the firefighters to get where they needed to go.
The upgraded fire station, which was located near the highway instead of far away from the main road, would also feature extra garage space plus living quarters for any firefighters who were working long shifts. Everyone was thankful for the Hills’ generosity, but Mark and Cindy didn’t stop there. In fact, they weren’t even close to stopping.
The Hills funded a new baseball field that would be built further away from the busy roads so that the kids could play safely. They also donated $50,000 towards a new sewage treatment plant. Mark and Cindy also thought about their alma mater, North Platte High School. They wanted a hand in helping these kids with their future.
The Hills set up a scholarship fund to help talented kids go to college. The entire town of Camden Point celebrated the Hill family’s generous donations. Thanks to the Hill family, the town was improved overnight. The city officials said that these types of changes would have taken them 25 years to complete had the Hills not stepped in.
Thanks to Mark and Cindy, the entire town feels like they’ve won the lottery. “I’ve said all along that these lottery winnings could not have gone to a better couple,” Mayor Kevin Boydston said. If there were any doubts about the Hills being able to stay grounded, those fears are long, long gone.
But not every lottery winner stays as grounded and humble as the Hills. Others let the money get to their head, and their lives become a never-ending spiral of depression, extravagant spending, drugs, and prison. Don’t believe us?