Eureka woman wins big in lottery

DeWayne Bartels
Wendy Rush of Eureka is shown holding her winning $2,500 a Week For Life Illinois Lottery ticket.

Wendy Rush says her life is not going to change much despite winning a large Illinois Lottery jackpot.

Rush, 67, of Eureka was in no rush to claim her prize in the Win $2,500 A Week For Life prize on Aug. 1.

She took her time claiming the prize, she said, because she wanted to get an accountant involved. She waited six weeks before going to the lottery’s Springfield Prize Center on Sept. 12 to claim her prize. She took a lump-sum payout of  just over $1.9 million.

“I don’t want to make a killing, but I don’t want to lose it,” Rush said in a press release. “Winning this kind of prize is a blessing, a blessing that carries some responsibilities.”

Rush is working with an attorney to finalize her will.

“I never had any money before, so I didn’t really need a will,” she said.

She plans to replace her 1995 Toyota Corolla. She intends to buy a newer used car.

Rush is a probation assistant in the Woodford County Probation Department.

Rush said she intends to keep her job until February. She had planned to retire then, even before winning the lottery.

“I enjoy my job,” she said.

Acting Lottery Superintendent Victor Golden applauded Rush’s careful approach.

“It’s always great to see multi-million dollar winners consult with investment professionals and CPAs before claiming their prize,” Golden said. “We offer Wendy our congratulations, and know she is going to make her money work hard for her for years to come.”

Rush is the second Peoria-area Cash For Life winner since June.

She has no dramatic plans for the future.

“I’m staying in Eureka. I have a niece and her husband and their children here. I like it here. This is my home,” Rush said.

A press release said many of her co-workers and family were waiting for Rush — champagne in hand — when she arrived home Sept. 12 after submitting her winning ticket in Springfield.  

Rush was welcomed with a tree festooned with Monopoly Money.

Rush purchased her winning ticket at the Huck’s store at 205 W. Center St.

On Sept. 20 Rush and store manager Candie Crismon were given oversized checks at the store. Huck’s will receive a bonus of $19,040, 1 percent of Rush’s lump-sum payment of $1,904,000.

A regular lottery player, Rush cashed in a winning $10 Little Lotto ticket and used the winnings to buy several different Lottery games, including the $2,500 A Week For Life game.

“It’s not going to change my life much. It will just make it secure,” Rush said.

“I won’t have to worry the rest of my life. I want to take care of my mom, myself and my family.”