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Resident Hits $1 Million Jackpot

So, what would you do if you suddenly woke up a million smackers richer?

Herb Mazzola of Massapequa Park could certainly tell you what he’d do.

Winner of the $1 million second prize in the May 15 New York State Lottery Powerball drawing, Mazzola, 68, collected his winnings Friday morning at a press conference along with five other lucky winners who, at one point or another, all said “why not?” and dropped a buck or two on a long shot.

Mazzola and his wife were presented with an oversized check for his $1 million prize at a press conference held at the New York Lottery Customer Service Center in Garden City, hosted by the Lottery’s ever-colorful spokeswoman Yolanda Vega.

“We’re here this morning to introduce six of Long Island’s newest lottery millionaires,” Vega announced. “All of them claimed their prize right here in this very customer service center. Our winners this day won their millions in a mix of scratch-off games and Powerball drawings.”

A retired New York City police officer, Mazzola had spent the morning of the drawing babysitting his three grandchildren, after which he decided to head out to Tutal Convenience on Broadway in Massapequa and purchase his one weekly lottery ticket; however, this week he decided to deviate ever so slightly from the norm.

“I usually play my own numbers each week, but this time I also asked for a Powerball Quick Pick to go with it,” he said. “Then I watched the drawing, and realized that I had five numbers...I had won $1 million.”

Mazzola, maintaining his composure despite the overwhelming shock of now being a millionaire, decided to break the news to his wife Mary Jane playfully.

“She was babysitting at my son’s house, and I asked her what she would do if she had a million dollars,” he said. After she asked him why he was bothering her, he replied, “Well...we just won a million dollars.”

When it comes to playing the lottery, Mazzola had always maintained a strict philosophy, one that obviously paid off both figuratively and literally.

“I only spend about five dollars a week on the lottery...still, that’s five dollars too much for my wife’s way of thinking,” he said. “I figure that, if you’re going to win, it would be with just one ticket...either you’ve got it or you don’t.”

Other winners who were awarded checks at the press conference included residents from Centereach, East Moriches, Port Jefferson Station, and West Hempstead.

Mazzola will be taking his winnings in one lump sum, which he will be splitting with his wife; after required withholdings, they will each receive a cool $330,900 each. The couple plans to use the winnings to do some household repairs and visit family in Florida.