What would you do if you became a multi-millionaire overnight? We would all use the money in different ways — some might spend it all in a day, while others would wisely invest it — but there would be one common theme. That kind of money changes lives forever.
That’s what the Hill family found out in 2012, when these ordinary, down-to-earth folks suddenly became the richest people in town. With endless possibilities before them, the Hills immediately started making huge purchases that shocked their friends and neighbors…
We all dream of winning the lottery, though very few of us ever see these fantasies come true. Mark and Cindy Hill knew the odds were against them; they never planned on becoming overnight millionaires. But you can’t always plan for the future.
NY Daily News
In 2012, their three adult children moved out of the house, but Mark and Cindy had a younger adopted daughter from China. Mark worked at a meat processing plant, but Cindy recently lost her own job. It was a rough turn of events.
YouTube / Associated Press
The Hill family lived in the small town of Camden Point, Missouri. With only about 500 residents, it was the type of place where everybody knew each other. The Hills had a reputation as decent, modest people.
YouTube / ABC News
Even with their low-key lifestyle, Mark and Cindy couldn’t help but notice advertisements for the upcoming Powerball drawing. The jackpot number kept climbing higher and higher, beguiling anyone who happened to see it.
Flickr / Tony Webster
Once the lottery reached a record $587.5 million, the Hills couldn’t resist. Cindy drove out to the gas station to pick up five tickets. Not believing in any kind of lucky numbers, she let the computer pick hers for her. It was out of her hands.
YouTube / Missouri Lottery
From there, all Cindy and Mark could do was watch the live drawing. Their chances were unbelievably low, but at least it would be a little exciting to have a stake in this live event. The balls started shuffling on their televisions screen. Amusingly, their first couple numbers matched up.
But then a couple more followed — and the final number as well. Mark and Cindy stared at the television screen until they put it all together. They won the lottery! More than that, they won an amount of money that would inevitably change their lives forever.
YouTube / Missouri Lottery
The Hills came away with half of the Powerball jackpot, just under $300 million, and suddenly this ordinary family was the talk of the town. Just about everyone they knew asked the same question. What are you going to do with all that money?
Regrettably, many big-time lottery winners change for the worse. Leaving their old lives behind, they spend their new fortunes on mansions and flashy clothing. In the worst cases, they burn through all their winnings in the blink of an eye and go under.
Thrilled as they were, the Hill family was aware of the pitfalls that came with their winnings. They didn’t need to become high-rollers, so maybe the money could go to help other people? Mark and Cindy thought it over while enjoying some of the jackpot themselves.
Now that they weren’t tied down by work, Cindy wanted the family to travel the world. “We want to go back to China, Ireland of course – we’re Irish – and wherever the wind takes us,” she revealed.
YouTube / Missouri Lottery
Meanwhile, Mark bought himself a new pick-up truck, as his old vehicle was in pretty sorry condition. From there on, however, Mark and Cindy decided to contribute their good fortune to a nobler cause. They thought of Mark’s father.
In recent years, local emergency services and firefighters twice saved the life of his dad. Mark felt that he could never truly repay them for their work, but perhaps the Hills could ensure that these heroes could do their jobs even better.
YouTube / KMBC 9 News
Mark and Cindy met with Walt Stubbs, the Camden Point fire chief and an old high school friend. They offered to share a portion of their winnings, which blew Walt away. He started picturing some new equipment, or maybe a truck. But he didn’t get that.
The Hills announced that they would build an entirely new fire station! Whereas their old facility was far from the main roads — certainly a liability in emergency situations — their new one would be right by the highway.
St. Joseph News-Press
The upgraded building would also feature more garage space for emergency vehicles, plus living quarters for any employees pulling long shifts. Everybody recognized that Cindy and Mark went above and beyond typical generosity. However, they didn’t stop there.
The Hills provided funding for a new baseball field, further away from busy traffic. Thinking practically, they also donated enough to build a new sewage treatment plant. Hopefully, these places won’t be too close to each other.
Little League Baseball
In addition, Cindy and Mark thought back to their alma mater, North Platte High School. So many kids there deserved a good future, but they couldn’t all make that happen by winning the lottery. Instead, the Hills set up a scholarship fund for talented students.
All of Camden Point celebrated the Hills’ donations, which made overnight improvements that would’ve otherwise taken 25 years to fund. Mayor Kevin Boydston said, “I’ve said all along that these lottery winnings could not have gone to a better couple.”
If there were ever any doubts about the Hills staying grounded, those fears are long gone. Thanks to Mark and Cindy, everybody had something to celebrate. The entire town felt like they won the lottery!