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      Ottumwa man receives lottery ticket as Christmas gift, wins $20,000 prize

      Winner Greg Heilmann

      An Ottumwa man played an instant-scratch ticket he received from his brother for Christmas and ended up winning a big lottery prize.

      Gregory Heilmann, 37, said he scratched off his ??Hot Card?? ticket and won a $20,000 top prize. He claimed the sixth of 10 top prizes of $20,000 available in the game on Jan. 7 at the Iowa Lottery??s headquarters in Des Moines.

      Heilmann said he first shared his good news with his brother, Aaron Heilmann, who gave him the ticket. The winning ticket was purchased at the Kum & Go on 534 Church St. in Ottumwa.

      ??I showed him the next morning. He was baffled about it too,?? he said. ??(I told him) It??s the real deal bro. I have to go to Des Moines.????

      Heilmann, who works at Cargill in Ottumwa, said he plans to use his lottery winnings to help pay off his mortgage.

      Hot Card is a $2 scratch game. Four top prizes of $20,000 are still up for grabs in Hot Card, as well as 70 prizes of $300 and 135 prizes of $100.

      Since the lottery??s start in 1985, its players have won more than $3.1 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.5 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

      Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.