Thursday, September 20, 2018
News Roundup

Florida lottery winner’s Maine hometown overjoyed he won the big prize

Shane Missler walked down Mandalay Avenue in Clearwater Beach in March 2017 and stopped at a statue of Hulk Hogan for the perfect photo op.

With one armed flexed and the other shot straight out, he had his picture taken next to the famed wrestler while striking the Hulkster’s signature pose. Above Missler’s head, perfectly captured in the photo’s frame, were the words "Filthy Rich."

Sure, it was the name of a jewelry store, but it was also an incredible bit of foreshadowing.

Nicholas Guild, the friend Missler was with the day the photo was taken, laughs at it now. It’s as if Missler was always waiting for something great to happen, according to the high school buddy.

"He knew he was destined for it," said Guild, 21.

Missler, 20, of Port Richey, this week became the sole winner of the fourth-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time: $451 million. He opted to take the lump-sum payment and, after taxes, his winnings came to $211,406,249.25.

Since then, Missler has been dodging the spotlight, other than releasing some prepared statements and a Facebook status thanking everyone for their well wishes.

PREVIOUS STORY: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpot

His phone is blowing up, his social media is flooded with money-hungry commenters, and the community in Maine where he grew up is stunned but overjoyed.

"He is a great kid and has a heart of gold," said former classmate Anthony York, 21.

Missler is from a small town outside Augusta, Maine, and graduated with about 140 students from Spruce Mountain High School in 2015. He played baseball and soccer and managed the school’s basketball team.

When his dad got a new job in Florida shortly after graduation, Missler came down to the Sunshine State with him.

Back in Maine, Missler is the talk of the town. Guild has had several people ask him if he’s still close with his former soccer teammate. The two last saw each other during Guild’s Clearwater vacation in March.

"He’s one of the most inspirational people I know," Guild said. "He’s told me so many times not to waste my potential."

In Florida, Missler had a job at local background screening company, which he has since happily left.

Guild said Missler is close with his father, Stephen Missler. His mother died in 2006 from cancer, Guild said, bringing the Missler brood — the couple had another son and two daughters — even closer together.

RELATED: Lottery winner minefields: Financial planning, emotions, relationships

"His dad did a lot for him," Guild said. "I know he’s going to pay him back and do something smart with the money."

In August, Missler posted on social media he couldn’t wait to win the Powerball that coming Saturday. Friends say Missler is wise beyond his age and has always been positive and certain good fortune was headed his way.

In other ways, Missler is what you’d expect a 20-year-old to be. He loves Boston sports teams, the Celtics especially. In 2016 he paid cash for his first car, a 2004 Suburu Outback.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: What to do if you win a Mega Millions jackpot

He is a huge boxing and wrestling fan. The Rocky movies are among his favorite — he once ran through the back roads of Jay, Maine, after soccer practice, behind Guild’s truck much like Sylvester Stallone’s character.

At 20, Guild said, Missler was still figuring out what career he wanted to pursue. He was dreaming of owning a piece of property with enough space for a dog — but figured it wouldn’t come until he was a bit older.

"Live the life you’ve always wanted," Guild texted his friend after he heard the news. Missler sent back, "thanks, brother."

Missler last visited his friends and family in Maine around Christmas. Guild couldn’t get off work at his convenience store job to see him.

"Gotta pay the bills," Guild said with a laugh.

We all can’t be lottery winners, after all.

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

Comments

Updated: 15 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Thursday, September 20

Thursday’s scoreboardVolleyballSt. Petersburg Catholic d. Cambridge Christian 25-21, 25-13, 25-8
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

TAMPA — For the first time in seven weeks, Vita Vea played football Thursday.At least it looked like the rookie defensive tackle was playing football when he walked to the Bucs' practice field wearing a helmet and full pads and took a three-poi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Austin Meadows gets called up, but there’s nowhere to put him

Rays journal: Austin Meadows gets called up, but there’s nowhere to put him

TORONTO — After taking his first look at OF Austin Meadows in Rays colors, manager Kevin Cash said the promising prospect is a "huge part" of their future. But he also acknowledged that they might not get much of a look at that future over the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete approves biggest budget in city history: $717 million

St. Pete approves biggest budget in city history: $717 million

ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council blessed the largest budget in city history on Thursday night, adopting a $717 million budget that starts Oct. 1.The 2019 budget is about $200 million more than the current budget. That massive increase was driven by ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hernando woman crashes car with 2-month-old inside 'to get attention' of ex-boyfriend

Hernando woman crashes car with 2-month-old inside 'to get attention' of ex-boyfriend

DADE CITY — A woman intentionally crashed her car, with a 2-month-old girl inside, just to get the attention of her ex-boyfriend, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Tuesday night around 9 p.m., Breanna Bechtol, 21, of Weeki Wachee...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

Football player, band member, advanced student, girl: Pasco eighth-grader does it all well

TRINITY — Julie Michael stood in the metal bleachers, flute poised at her lips, ready to play the national anthem with the Seven Springs Middle School advanced band.As the band segued into the school fight song, the eighth-grader continued per...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Clay may combat Florida’s Red Tide, but opposition ended experiments here 15 years ago

Clay may combat Florida’s Red Tide, but opposition ended experiments here 15 years ago

With Red Tide creeping up the Southwest Florida coast and into the Panhandle, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced an international research partnership to determine if the toxic algae bloom can be quelled by clay.The effort is bringing together Woo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Photos: From academics to flute playing to varsity football, this eighth grade girl does it all

Photos: From academics to flute playing to varsity football, this eighth grade girl does it all

Helmet on, it’s hard to single out Michael as the only girl on the Seven Springs football roster, and the third one in the school’s history. Not that it matters to her teammates.Off the field, she is a flute player in the school band. On ...
Updated: 2 hours ago