Gazette hunts down big winner

KILLALOE – In a few flashing seconds, life can change forever and recently, for one born and raised Killaloe man, life has changed forever in the blink of an eye, drastically.
On September 14, Delmer Hartwig walked into A.J.’s Convenience Store in Killaloe and found out he was a multimillionaire in minutes.
It was a regular Saturday, he told the Gazettes’ Staff Reporter Jen Juhasz; when she caught up with him at a local hunt camp, a couple days following the big win.
The former gravel truck operator for Glenn Visneskies’ logging company said he had just stepped out this past Saturday to do some errands for his hunting trip this week.
His plan was to stop in at A.J.’s, check his tickets and get new tickets, while he was there.
When he arrived at the store and the ticket was scanned, he was in disbelief as the sequence of events that unfolded.
“It said, ‘Big Winner,’ on the machine and it started singing and stuff, and I thought I saw the screen say, ‘$15 million,’ but only for a second or two,” Delmer said.
It didn’t take long for the big news to travel either. Just moments after, the lottery office called A.J.’s and confirmed the local Killaloe man had won, and won big, as the sole winner of the Lotto Max Jackpot for $15 million.
Delmer said the lotto office inquired when he might be picking up his winnings and he responded he didn’t know, as he had plans to go elk hunting.
And for the rest of the day, this past Saturday, the big winner carried on as usual, with his prized ticket stuffed away safely.
He continued on with his errands, went and picked up the groceries, then a generator from his uncle’s place, returned home to do the laundry and packed up to go to a friend’s local hunt camp, as planned.
Delmer’s friends, who were hunting with him on September 16, said they wondered if they would lose one of their elk-hunting buddies to a heart attack or something, due to the shocking news, but he’s simply the same old guy they’ve always known, money or not.
Whatever adversity or blessings Delmer has faced, he’s always faced it humbly and with an astounding sense of graciousness, Delmer’s father, Franklin, 73, added.
“He’s just a good old-fashioned hard-working country boy,” his proud father went on to say.
Franklin found out shortly after the big win, while he was in Quebec for the weekend.
“I got the call from my other daughter-in-law,” Franklin said. “At first I, myself was in disbelief.”
It’s pretty darn exciting, Franklin admitted.
Story continues in the September 18, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.