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Monday, January 23, 2012


$5M lottery winner from Walden, N.Y., moving to Georgia

Michael Randall


01/23/12

Former (as of Jan. 14) Big Apple Circus concession worker Donnie Hayes came to Walden the same time the circus set up its Slifka Family Creative Center in the village, around 1997.
Now that he's scored a $5 million ($3.3 million after taxes) jackpot from a New York State Lottery scratch-off game, Hayes will be moving on, buying a house in Georgia to be near his sister, who's his only family.
But aside from having more bucks in his bank account, he's pretty much the same Donnie Hayes who moved to the area 15 years ago. At the news conference last Wednesday where he was formally presented with his prize, the low-key Hayes kept his composure, even when high-wattage Lottery presenter Yolanda Vega got close to him for a photo opportunity.
"I guess this is what happens when you have money," Hayes deadpanned.
For the record, he's well thought of by his former employers, who are wishing him well in his new life.
"He will certainly be missed," said Joel Dein, the circus's director of communications. "I can't think of a more deserving person."

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