LANSING - For Judy Juntunen, buying lottery tickets for the last 20 years has finally paid off.
Michigan Lottery Commissioner Scott Bowen announced Wednesday that Juntunen, a retired woman from Atlantic Mine, is the winner of the $19 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Juntunen has chosen the cash option, which means she will receive $13.9 million in a lump sum, before taxes. Bowen said the jackpot is ranked 15th in terms of lottery winnings in Michigan.
She bought the ticket for the Feb. 5 drawing at Festival Foods in Houghton. She said she realized she was the winner after receiving a call from her granddaughter. Her granddaughter had heard on the radio that the market sold the winning ticket and knew that her grandmother usually bought her tickets there.
Juntunen said the first thing she did was make sure she actually had the ticket. "Then you feel pretty good," she said.
She used to work as a contract mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. Her husband, who passed away three years ago, was a copper miner. She did not want to share her age.
Festival Foods will get a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Juntunen, who said she has been a frequent lottery player for about the last 20 years, picked the winning numbers randomly. She is going to buy a car with four-wheel drive, because she lives "up in snow country," she said.
Juntunen, who has four children, 16 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, said she's already getting requests from her family.
When asked if she would spoil her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she said she's "been doing a good job of that already."