Hynes won the tax-free cash on a $200 Millions Extraordinaire Scratch ’n Win ticket from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) in May. And this week, with a flick of a tennis ball, one of his two, beloved Belgian Shepherds went crashing into the water in the afternoon sun. Their backyard pool now has a tapered exit at one end, to make it easier for the dogs — one with hip trouble — to get in and out.
Whether it’s their health or his own, Hynes said, while acknowledging the cliché, there are things he values more than the money.
“When I won the money, Dr. (Christopher) Jackman called me. He’s the guy that’s protecting my sight and all that,” he said. Hynes explained he is blind in one eye, with limited vision in the other, receiving treatments related to his sight.
“(The doctor) said congratulations on winning. I said if you can fix my sight, I’ll give you that money and more besides.
“He said, ‘If I could fix your sight I’d do it for free’.”
The Telegram has been catching up with past winners of $1 million or more through ALC, with Hynes being the most recent.
Rather than automatic retirements, sports cars, romps in Vegas and general self indulgence, the biggest winners have been opting for reliable vehicles, supplementing their education, finishing long-awaited home renovations and also saving — in case of family needs down the road, particularly tied to health care and aging.
Hynes started his own business at the age of 19 and was already retired when he won the lotto. While continuing to help the local chapter of the CNIB, he said he plans to stay retired.
But Calvin Campbell in Labrador West is working longer hours now than before he won the lottery.
He was one of the “United 8” — a group of eight employees of United Rentals — receiving roughly $3.75 million from a $30-million Lotto Max draw in July 2014. He acknowledged, at 49, he does not have to work now, but has chosen to launch a business with his brother in his home community.
“The thing about it is if you’re young like I am — I’m not just going to do nothing for the rest of my life. I’ve worked all my life. You just don’t shut that off in you,” he said, on his 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. work days. “You can have a break. You can take vacations, but for me it’s about purpose.”
He bought into the WinMar franchise and opened the doors to a new location in Wabush this spring. Work comes to the outlet through insurance companies, he said.
“To get up in the morning to come to my own place, to do my own thing… I’ve always worked my butt off for other companies and now I get to do it for me. It’s a pretty special feeling, you know?”
He has spent some winnings helping out immediate family and also doing some work on the house he shares with his fiancee. But he is also saving some of the money and said he imagines the rest of the United 8 doing the same.
“They’re going to be a little more cautious than just to throw it all away I think,” he said.
At least one other United 8 member has notably gone down the small business route. David Primmer is about to open a restaurant on Water Street in St. John’s, in the location previously occupied by Bianca’s.
Other past winners of $1 million or more, dating back to the early 2000s, have taken on new endeavours. These winners were insistent their names not reappear in the paper. They said there were enough calls, emails and even knocks on the door after their initial wins to make them shudder at the thought.
But they also all said financial advisers were part of the response.
“We had them coming out of the woodwork,” Campbell said.
ALC does not provide financial advice, but Campbell’s lotto group sat down for several meetings with different advisers after their win.
“I decided to stay with my original financial adviser,” he said, “because he’s always been good to me and he’s always done well for me — when I didn’t have a lot, when I was just setting up for my retirement.”
FACTBOX: Big bucks in last 6 months in N.L. lotto wins
$1 million — Stephen and Barbara Graves, St. John’s, June 2015, LottoMax MaxMillions
$1 million — Lester Hillier and Barbara Thomas, Grand Falls-Windsor, June 2015, LottoMax MaxMillions
$2 million — Jim Hynes, St. Phillips, May 2015, Extraordinaire Top Prize
$1 million — Christopher Ward and Danielle Stamp, Torbay, May 2015, LottoMax MaxMillions
$675,000 — Celestine Tarrant, St. Lawrence, May 2015, Set For Life Top Prize
$1 million — Bill and Nancy Budgell, Gander, May 2015, 6/49 Guaranteed Million
$1 million — Clayton and Caroline Leyte, Bishop’s Falls, April 2015, 6/49 Guaranteed Million
$1 million — Jay Griffin, Paradise, March 2015, 6/49 Guaranteed Million
$5 million — Martin House, Corner Brook, February 2015, 6/49 Jackpot
$1 million — Ed and Donna Ruth, Summerside, January 2015, LottoMax MaxMillions
$7 million — Anthony Barry, St. John’s, December 2014, 6/49 Jackpot