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2018-01-09 / Front Page

Sidney Man Wins $1 Million Jackpot in Masonville

By Rosie Cunningham


Yolanda Vega hands lottery winner Donald Savastano an oversized $1 million check Wednesday in Masonville. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Yolanda Vega hands lottery winner Donald Savastano an oversized $1 million check Wednesday in Masonville. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter MASONVILLE - A Sidney man is feeling like a million bucks.

Donald Savastano, 51, hit the lottery on a Merry Millionaire ticket, winning the $1,000,000 prize. He will earn a lump-sum payment of $661,800 after taxes.

Savastano, a self-employed contractor, was on his way home from work at about 5 p.m. on Dec. 9 when he stopped at the Mirabito gas station on State Route 8 in Masonville. He had won $20 on a “Set for Life” scratch-off ticket earlier in the day and decided to reinvest his winnings by purchasing two additional $10 tickets - Merry Millionaire being one of the two choices.

“I usually don’t play the holiday scratch-offs,” said Savastana, who frequents the Masonville Mirabito.

Savastano bought the holiday ticket on a whim.

“I went out to my vehicle, scratched the ticket,” he said. “It was getting dark and I came back in the store to check it out. I felt like I had a winner. I brought it to the self scanner, which made some noise. When I realized I may have won, I said to the cashier, ‘Holy (blank), I think I just won a million dollars.’ She said ‘Really?’ I showed it to her real quick and hightailed it out of here.”


Donald Savastano poses with NY Lottery representative Yolanda Vega and Mirabito employee Danielle Scott, who sold him the winning ticket on Dec. 9. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Donald Savastano poses with NY Lottery representative Yolanda Vega and Mirabito employee Danielle Scott, who sold him the winning ticket on Dec. 9. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Danielle Scott, who has worked at the store for more than two years, is the young woman who sold the winning ticket.

She said once she realized he had hit the jack pot, she was “very happy for him.”

“He had me check the ticket and said ‘24 is my number, right?’ I just said ‘yes’ and ‘God Bless,’” she said.


The Mirabito store located on State Route 8 in Masonville was the second store established by the Mirabito family. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter The Mirabito store located on State Route 8 in Masonville was the second store established by the Mirabito family. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Savastano said he likes to scratch his numbers first when it comes to his “technique” and the eventual number 24 was revealed as the jackpot.

“I thought I may have won $100 bucks or so,” he continued. “But, I found out it was a little more than $100.”

Savastano, who has been in the area for about 12 years, said when he realized he had hit the jackpot, he just “couldn’t believe it and “I just couldn’t put my arms around it.”

He then went home and told his girlfriend about winning and she was initially skeptical. In the past, she had been chastised him on spending a lot of money on purchasing lottery tickets.

“Look at me now,” he said. “She was very happy.”

Since it was a Saturday, he could not claim his prize until Monday at the Lottery Customer Claim Service. In the meantime, he put the ticket in a box and returned to it repeatedly to have a look, he said.

The Sidney resident said he has family locally, but none of them knew at the time of the press conference that he had won $1 million.

“They will know after today,” he laughed.

On Wednesday, Vega gave Savastano a ceremonial $1,000,000,000 oversized check and said Savastano should have the deposit in his bank account within two days.

“I’ve never had a retirement plan before,” said the self-employed contractor, who added that he was going to invest some of the winnings, buy a “killer” truck and go on vacation.

“I will probably pay off some debt, too,” he said.

Savastano is the 97th New York Lottery player to claim a prize totaling $1,000,000 or more this year, according to a media release. The state lottery contributed $6,998,933 to education to school districts in Delaware County during fiscal year 2016-2017.

The Mirabito station was the second store the Mirabito family purchased in 1984 and since news came about in regards to Savastano’s luck, scratch off sales have increased tremendously.

Savastano has no intention of moving out of the area and he will continue to buy scratch cards.

“There’s more money to be won,” he said.

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