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Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager

MISSY HELLER SHOWS a NY Lottery scratch-off ticket similar to the one that garnered her $25,000 at Lander’s Rivermart convenience store in Callicoon.

Life Is Richer
For This Woman

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON — May 17, 2002 – When Missy Heller scratched off her Extra Chance ticket last month, she figured she’d won $25 – big deal.
But when a friend at Lander’s River Mart in Callicoon picked up the ticket to take a peek, he told the area resident to take another look.
After nearly 12 years of buying lottery tickets with friends Bruce and Susie Reichmann, reinvesting their small winnings, Heller had hit the jackpot.
The $2 Extra Chance ticket she’d purchased from a cashier at the local convenience store that day was actually worth $25,000.
“I didn’t have all of it scratched off,” Heller explained, “so I thought it was $25.”
But once she realized she’d finally hit the big time, the waitress and divorced mom of three started making plans.
“I was in shock,” she recalled. “But, to be honest, I really wasn’t thinking about spending the money.
“I just knew it was my way out.”
Heller purchased the ticket on Sunday. Monday morning, she walked into her job at a downtown restaurant and said she’d be looking for something else.
Since then, Heller has been looking for a job and helping out some friends with her winnings. She helped her eldest son, Christopher, 18, purchase a car to go back and forth to college in East Stroudsburg, Pa.
She took her son Nick, 13, a BOCES student, for a shopping trip. She wanted to get something special for 10-year-old daughter Mary, a Sullivan West/Delaware Valley student.
And she offered Bob Huggins, an elderly Callicoon man she befriended during her days as a waitress, a trip to Portland, Ore. to see the sister he hasn’t laid eyes on in 60 years.
Huggins has declined the offer because of health problems, but Heller has promised to fly the sister and her husband in to the area if Huggins wants to see them.
Otherwise, Heller noted, she can’t do much with the money. It can help pay the rent at her Callicoon home, but with taxes already taken out, it doesn’t seem like a whole lot – approximately $16,000.
“The money hasn’t changed my life,” she noted.
According to Heller, she doesn’t plan to buy too many more lottery tickets. She’s won money before – usually less than $100, and that’s the money she and the Reichmanns have reinvested in the tickets.
“I work hard for my money,” Heller explained. “I would rather spend money on a loaf of bread than a bunch of lottery tickets.”
But she recalls winning $1,500 on the Pennsylvania lottery when Nick was a baby, and she figures the other funds she’s spent on tickets were just a reinvestment of that.
And she and the Reichmanns are still buying tickets.
As it happened, the day Heller won, she’d spent $6 and bought three tickets on her own. The couple wasn’t in on the purchase or the winnings.
“We were PO’d we weren’t in on it,” Susie Reichmann said with a laugh.
“Yeah, we thought we were in on any tickets she bought,” Bruce added with a grin.
But the couple are glad to see some happiness come to their friend, and, Bruce said, they’re going to continue buying tickets with her at Lander’s.
The store has seen a rush on their tickets since Heller’s stroke of good luck.
“In people’s minds, there’s that thought that if there was one big winner there will be another,” said Chris Kellam, manager of Lander’s River Mart.

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