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Evans Mills Primary School cleaner wins $100,000 on 6-month-old Powerball ticket

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WATERTOWN — Imagine walking around with $100,000 in your wallet and not knowing it? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Jeff S. Paro, cleaner at Evans Mills Primary School.

Mr. Paro purchased a $6 Powerball ticket from the White Caps Store, also known as the Depauville Mini-Mart, last August. Mr. Paro stopped there on Friday to get some chips to go with his lunch and then bought a new lottery ticket. When he put the new ticket in his wallet, he noticed the old ticket, and decided to go check it.

“And normally what will the machine say to you? ‘Sorry, you’re not a winner,’” Mr. Paro said. “So I stared at the machine for at least a good five minutes and checked the tickets at least three or four times before I actually believed it.”

“I’ve been carrying around $100,000 and I didn’t even know it,” Mr. Paro said.

Mr. Paro said it was difficult to accept.

“I didn’t believe it,” Mr. Paro said. “We drove to Syracuse that day and I went to claim it. Then the thoughts started going through my head of what I was going to do with it.”

He will take home between $60,000 and $65,000.

Mr. Paro plans to use the money to build a heated garage/shop next to his house, which is something he has been planning for some time now.

“I’ve been planning this shop since pre-COVID,” Mr. Paro said. “I’ve been saving my money up. The plan was to build it a little bit at a time, but now once warm weather comes around, I can put the sucker up and build it the way I want it.”

Mr. Paro said he also hopes to use the money to pay off a side-by-side all-terrain vehicle that he bought a year ago, with the rest of the money going into a savings account.

He also plans to retire after more than 30 years with the school district. Of those three decades, the overwhelming majority has been with Evans Mills Primary School, spending the first year and a half of his career at Indian River High School. He has been a staple of Evans Mills Primary School since 1989-1990.

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