Homeless Man Hits $50,000 Jackpot, Stays in Tent

BLOOMINGTON, Ill — Many lottery winners say they plan to live life as usual, maybe putting some of their earnings in savings. That’s exactly what a Bloomington man says he plans to do with $50,000.

There’s a catch; he has been living in a tent for more than two decades.


“I scratched it off right here in my tent,” says Dennis Mahurin, who has been homeless since 1978. “I thought it was a thousand dollars. She said, ‘Nope.’ I said, ‘Oh, I messed up didn’t?’ She said it was fifty thousand, and I almost fell over.”

Even after purchasing a $50,000 scratch-off ticket from a near-by gas station last week, he says he will keep living his familiar lifestyle.

“He’s a very, very nice guy. He’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” says Emmarie Cross, who works at the Circle K where the ticket was purchased. “I’ve been telling everybody, this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

Dennis says he’s become something of a local celebrity in the last few days. Most local TV and radio news outlets have come to speak to him, and he is not shy about what he’ll do with his small fortune.

“With all the other homeless people around here, I’ve made up my mind,” Mahurin says. “I’m gonna give them each $100.” Mahurin says he has eight homeless friends to whom he will pay it forward.

He jokingly says the number may go up with all of his new friends coming out of the woodwork.

After taxes, he will be left with about $35,000. With that, he plans to visit his son upstate, have some dental work done, put some in savings, and maybe buy a new tent.
When Mahurin turned it around and asked what I would do with a small fortune, I told him I wouldn’t know where to begin. His response came quick.

“Yeah, but that’s because you’ve got a job and a place to stay. I’m living in a tent, happy as can be in my nature.”