- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

BOARDMAN, Ore. (AP) - Steve Myren thought he was having a heart attack.

The Morrow County undersheriff had never won more than $60 playing the Oregon Lottery. Now here he was checking his old Megabucks tickets in Heppner, pale white upon realizing he had the $5.5 million winner in hand. He watched the convenience store clerk jump up and down in excitement.

“I guess the video is pretty entertaining,” Myren said with a smile.

Myren, 52, and his wife, Mim, talked about their good fortune and plans for the future this week as lottery officials presented the Boardman Chevron station with a hefty bonus check for selling the winning ticket.

The family-owned store received a 1 percent commission of the total winnings - $55,000. Store owner Doug Devin, of the locally based Devin Oil Co., said the money has already gone toward new products and employee training.

“If you look at this I-84 freeway, we’re competing against some major players,” Devin said. “As an owner, we have to invest in our store and make it better.”

Devin said it is the first time the store has sold a multi-million dollar lotto ticket, and he was happy to see the jackpot won by someone in Morrow County.

Myren admits the lottery was his own “stupid little thing,” but he did set a few rules for himself: He would only play Oregon Lottery games, and only when the pot was $5 million or more.

Even then, Mim said she got a little annoyed with her husband. The odds just seemed too long to realistically cash in on a big winner.

That didn’t stop Myren from buying a pair of $1 Oregon’s Game Megabucks tickets in Boardman on June 7, with the odds of winning the top prize at one in 6.1 million. A drawing was held the next day, though Myren would wait three days before returning to check his numbers, unaware he had a $5.5 million piece of paper in his pocket.

When he finally stopped in at the Heppner Shell station to see if he won, it took a moment for the clerk to piece together what had happened.

“That’s when she started jumping up and down and screaming,” Myren said.

Myren called his financial advisor first, then called Mim. The couple would have to wait until the next day to claim their prize at the Lottery offices in Salem. They barely slept a wink that night.

“I was speechless,” Mim said. “It was unbelievable.”

They arrived in Salem 10 minutes before the office opened at 8 a.m. Lottery officials confirmed the winning ticket and Myren said they burst into tears. He immediately bought a new Dodge pickup truck, and the rest of the money is in an investment account until they can figure out what to do with it.

Myren elected to take the money in annual payouts over 25 years as opposed to one lump sum. After taxes, that’s approximately $130,000 per year.

For now, Myren said the plan is to continue working with the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office until his retirement in two years. However, he added he doesn’t know what the future will hold.

“This is just going to make retirement more comfortable,” Myren said.

Boardman is a town of about 3,220 people, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone - especially the local undersheriff. Most feedback from the community has been positive, Myren said. Every once in a while, he’ll hear a few tongue-in-cheek cries of “Dad!” or “Uncle Steve!” from friends and neighbors.

Myren is the 246th Megabucks millionaire, a fact he said has taken time to truly sink in.

“You don’t really think it’s going to happen until it does,” he said.

___

Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.info

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