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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

West Central Neigborhood leader wins lottery

A West Central Neighborhood leader says his life won’t be altered much by his recent one-in-a-million lottery win that will give him $1,000 a week for the rest of his life.

Kelly Cruz, 53, bought the $5 ticket on New Year’s Eve at Safeway on Northwest Boulevard. He went to the grocery store to buy milk and bread and Lotto tickets for his father, Henry Cruz, who stayed in the car and frequently plays the lottery. Cruz decided he, too, would get a ticket and chose a “Lucky for Life” scratch ticket because it’s a game his brother often plays.

Last year, Cruz, a carpenter, made an unsuccessful run for City Council. He lives with his father, a retired electrician, in the home his father built in 1978.

Only four of the 4,324,950 Lucky for Life scratch tickets printed came with the top prize, according to the Washington Lottery website. Cruz was offered a lump sum option of $750,000 ($688,000 after taxes), but he turned it down for the monthly payment.

With the money, he plans to buy a lifetime membership in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and probably will give to more causes. But he doesn’t plan to move or make major changes in his life. Cruz said he hasn’t been working much as a carpenter lately because of his father’s health problems.

“I’ll be able to help out some charities I’m involved in,” he said.

Cruz said the money also could assist him if he runs for office again. He is the former chairman of the West Central Neighborhood Council and remains active in a West Central Coalition effort to reduce underage drinking. The coalition, which includes several nonprofit groups, won a $6,500 grant last year to partner with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies to study alcohol purchases and to conduct compliance checks at liquor retailers west of Division Street between the Spokane River and Wellesley Avenue.