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March 24, 2019

From furloughed to flush: Federal Staten Island park ranger wins New Jersey lottery

February 24, 2019
A furloughed National Parks employee won the New Jersey lottery, officials said Friday. (iStockphoto / Getty Images)

A furloughed national park ranger who had to suffer through the longest government shutdown in history has been reimbursed — and then some.

Judith Smith, a National Park Service ranger assigned to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island won a massive $29.5 million lottery jackpot, according to Northjersey.com.

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Smith and her children were named the winners of the Dec. 17, 2018 Pick-6 jackpot, the state’s largest Pick-6 jackpot in over a decade, the New Jersey Lottery Commission said.

The ranger purchased the ticket just before the ongoing fight for President Trump’s demand for a wall along the U.S.A./Mexican border sparked a partial government shutdown that lasted from December 22, 2018 until January 25.

Smith, of Bayonne N.J., and her colleagues were furloughed as a result of the shut down and received no pay for nearly a month until the shutdown ended.

“This dedicated worker was waiting along with her colleagues through days of being furloughed without pay and an uncertain determination about when this furlough might end,” the New Jersey lottery commission said in a statement.

Smith picked up the lottery ticket at Eddy’s Wine and Liquors in Bayonne N.J.

After realizing that she had won the lottery, she sent her son back Eddy’s to use the lottery’s self check machine to scan the ticket and see that she won — then consulted an attorney.

“When I read (the ticket) the first time, you know, and then you’re like, wait a minute, this can’t be, though,” Smith’s son William Smith told WABC news Thursday. “I put the ticket under the scanner, and it said file a claim, please see the clerk, and I knew right away (it was) more than $500.”

Smith claimed her prize on Jan. 17 without any fanfare, receiving $14 million after taxes, lottery commission officials said.

“We’ll continue to work, you know, set stuff up for the kids, go to college and travel,” William Smith said.

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