A West Des Moines man is now living a unique version of the American dream. 40-year-old Kenyan native Moses Bittok came to America in 1989 to go to school in Minnesota. He graduated and eventually settled in Iowa eight-and-a-half years ago after getting a job at the Mitchellville prison.
Last Friday morning Bittok wrapped up a two-year process to gain his U.S. citizenship — being sworn in as a new American at 9:30. Later that evening he stopped to check the numbers on a Hot Lotto ticket he purchased for the Wednesday drawing. He says the checked the ticket and got a receipt that said they’d won and had to go to the lottery headquarters to collect their prize. He says he then asked the attendant for the winning numbers and found out they’d won the jack pot. The ticket was a winner worth nearly one-point-nine-millon dollars.
He says, “It’s almost like shock at first, you know, you don’t believe it, you know. But, I’m glad we won.” Bittok says he bought the winning ticket at a West Des Moines Hy-Vee store where he works part-time. He says it was just the luck of the moment that he bought the ticket. He says deciding he should stop and fill up his before gas prices went up in the wake of Hurricane Rita, and he just happened to buy the ticket. Bittok says he and his wife plan to do some remodeling on their home and save some money for their four-year-old daughter’s education. He says his daughter is the top priority and he doesn’t want to squander the money and wants to make sure she can grow up and get a good education.
Bittok chose a 25-year payout and today (Monday) picked up the first check of nearly 53-thousand dollars — after taxes — at Iowa Lottery Headquarters in Des Moines. Bittok is the fifth Iowan to win a Hot Lotto jackpot. The tickets are also sold in Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia.