The Miracle Mile Fairly Tale
When it comes to buying lottery tickets we tend to focus on the numbers. But what if your location could improve your chances? Fond du Lac, a small city in Wisconsin, is home to the “Miracle Mile”. Stores on this main street have sold more than 14 winning tickets in the past 20 years. One of these lucky winners was Les Robins.
While running errands in Fond du Lac on a Saturday afternoon, Robins decided to purchase a lottery ticket. The odds of being the sole winner were 1 in 54.9 million. Robins had selected number 30 as his power ball and when this was drawn he joked that he must have won a buck or two. However when he put the numbers in order he was shocked to see that he had them all. He had beaten the odds and won $111 million, a record at the time.
Robins was a junior high school teacher and when he won his millions knew exactly what he wanted to invest in, children. He purchased 226 acres and built a day camp for children along Lake Winnebago’s eastern shore, Camp Winnegator.
The inspiration behind the dream was Robins own childhood. “I just hated to see kids not doing the kind of things we did growing up – playing soccer, softball, hanging out” Robin said.
At Camp Winnegator there’s no shortage of activities to help the children disconnect with technology and engage with nature. Activities range from cooling off in the lake, exploring trails on horseback, painting pictures and playing games. Robins is giving the children an opportunity to be just that, children. “I basically consider myself a mentor to kids in any way I can be, whether it’s in the classroom, their personal lives or on the basketball court” Robins shared.
After 20 years Robins has a more low key role in the camp these days. However he still likes to be found tinkering around the property or at the back of the gym on a Friday night, when the weekly camp sessions end. Here Robins can watch the children, parents and counsellors eat dinner and observe the sense of community he has helped to facilitate.
When asked what advice he would give future lottery winners: Put a portion of the cash into a irrevocable trust for up to three years. “Let time tell them what they really want to do with it,” he said.
Winning the lottery has enabled Robins to positively impact children’s lives in ways he would have never thought possible. It might not be the life Robins planned, but it’s the dream he now lives. Robins found his happily ever after on the Fond du Lac miracle mile.
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