$9 Million Arrives in Nick of Time

PUEBLO – A week ago, Gloria Aguda was worried about losing her home to foreclosure and too financially strapped to afford a trip to the doctor. “I was very depressed and asking God to help me,” said Aguda, a 50-year-old Fountain resident.

Aguda’s prayers were answered November 21, when she matched all six numbers in the Lotto drawing and won the $9 million jackpot.

“My heart was pounding so bad,” said Aguda, after a friend checked her ticket and informed her that she had the winning numbers.

The money is a well-needed windfall for Aguda, a single mother of two sons, who worked two jobs to support her children. Left jobless by a layoff two years ago, Aguda has been studying to become a medical assistant. But her school work required so much time, she was only able to work one day a week – making it increasingly difficult to help pay the mortgage on the home she shares with her now grown sons.

“My kids have worked so hard to save the house,” said a tearful Aguda, who moved to the U.S. from the Philippines as a teenager.

Aguda said she will pay off the mortgage on her home and other bills with the cash lump sum of $4.5 million. She also plans to provide financial support for her extended family, including a brother still living in the Philippines, who is partially blind and needs medical care. In fact, Aguda hopes to travel to Honolulu, where she lived before moving to Colorado in 1988, to surprise family.

The money will also allow Aguda’s sons to attend college and pay off school loans.

Aguda, however, may take a break from school to sort out her financial future.

“I am supposed to have a test this afternoon,” said Aguda Monday. “But I can’t even sleep since I found out I was a winner. I keep asking God to help me concentrate so I can take the test.”

A dedicated player of Colorado Lottery games, Aguda continues to test her luck. She won $35 after matching three numbers in Saturday’s Powerball drawing. She purchased her winning Lotto ticket from the Safeway at 6925 Mesa Ridge Road in Fountain. The store will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Proceeds from the Colorado Lottery’s games - Scratch, Lotto, Powerball and Cash 5 - stay in Colorado to improve the quality of life in the state. In 2006, more than $120 million was returned to Colorado. Since the lottery started in 1983, more than $1.8 billion has been returned to the state.

The Lottery proceeds are distributed to three primary beneficiaries: Great Outdoors Colorado, Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado State Parks. These organizations then provide grants and direct funding for parks, recreation, open space acquisition, trails, wildlife and conservation education.

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November 26, 2007
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