WWII Veteran’s birthday luck lands him a big lottery prize


Sometimes you come across those stories that just make you smile. This is one of those.

Ervin Smolinski served in the Navy during World War II.  On March 17 this year — St. Patrick’s Day — he turned 94 years old.  One of his birthday presents from his daughter-in-law was a scratch-off ticket from the Michigan Lottery.

“Every month, I buy some instant tickets and send them as gifts to family members who have birthdays that month,” Smolinski told Michigan Lottery staff. “It’s turned in to a bit of a tradition, and now everyone sends me scratch offs and chocolate for my birthday.”

“I had four Double Bonus Cashword tickets and the big winner was the first one I scratched,” said Smolinski. That big winner was worth $300,000.

“I’ve seen a lot in my time, and I don’t get worked up too easily. I think my son-in-law was more worked up than I was.”

The WWII Veteran says he plans to invest his winnings, buy a new shed and buy a newer, but still used car.

“I’m pretty frugal, I always shop sales and take care of my money and that won’t change. The only thing that will change is I won’t have as much stress in my life worrying about money,” Smolinski said.

Happy birthday, and congratulations, Ervin!


Megan Moloney

— Megan served at VA from May 2013 to July 2018. She is the daughter, granddaughter and spouse of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.


  1. Sheela Rajan    

    Congratulations Ervin. Enjoy the cash!

  2. Sheela Rajan    

    Congratulations Ervin! That is the way to go!! Enjoy the money!
    Sheela Rajan


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