Ron Yurcus has spent most of his life giving his time and energy to others, but now he says he'll also be able to donate financially to his favorite causes after winning the lottery.
A deacon at St. Petronille Parish in Glen Ellyn and retired hospice chaplain, Yurcus discovered this week he had a $1 million winning Powerball ticket from Aug. 22 shuffled among a dozen other old lottery tickets on his desk at home.
"I just happened to be cleaning my desk off and I checked to see if I had a winner," Yurcus said. "I was just floored when it was a million. I was home alone. I wanted to scream but there was nobody home."
Yurcus, a 45-year Glen Ellyn resident, and wife Kathy are now putting together a list of charities to give to, which he says will include their church, a homeless food pantry and missions.
Yurcus was ordained as a deacon for the Catholic church in 1989 and has been at St. Petronille since 1995, serving during Sunday Masses and working on parish missions. He's also served as a chaplain for police officers in DuPage County.
Yurcus and his wife also plan to invest some of the money, which he says will provide a good safety net for their retirement, and share it with their three children and four grandchildren.
He said he's not a regular lottery player but purchases tickets every so often when buying gas. When he stopped at the BP gas station at 339 Roosevelt Road in August, he said he mistakenly bought two Powerball tickets; he stopped playing it this year when the price of a ticket went up from $1 to $2.
But the extra cost worked to his advantage -- his winnings would have been only $200,000 under the old Powerball rules.
"This is divine providence that I won this year instead of last," he said.
Yurcus' winning ticket matched the first five numbers. Had he matched the sixth -- the "Powerball" -- his prize would have been $50 million.
That much money, he says, "can ruin somebody's life."