Lottery T-Shirt Saved Jackpot Winner's Life

Thursday May 7th 2020

Every winner who visits the Nebraska Lottery gets a free t-shirt. But jackpot winner Jimmy Brezina had an experience like no other: His lottery t-shirt had saved his life.

Jimmy told the story when he recently collected his $20,000 jackpot win from the Golden Cherry Multiplier Scratch game.

On Saturday, October 13, 2012, Jimmy put on a Nebraska Lottery t-shirt under a corduroy shirt and headed to his job as a mold and pattern-maker at a machine shop in Lincoln.

“They say Friday the 13th is bad luck,” Jimmy said. “Saturday the 13th is even worse.”

Jimmy was just five minutes from the end of his shift, pounding pin nails into the final mold for the day, when he heard a loud hissing noise.

As he spun around to check where the noise was coming from, the moisture accumulator a few feet in front of him exploded. The sound was so loud that windows six blocks away shook.

Jimmy's whole upper body was pierced with razor-sharp projectiles of PVC shrapnel. Alone in the shop, there was no one to help him.

He sustained a serious cut on his head and passed out. When he came to, he could barely see and was covered in blood, with slivers of PVC embedded under his skin.

“I was bleeding pretty badly and made a beeline for the bathroom,” Jimmy remembered. “It looked like a slaughterhouse in there. I didn’t realize how bad it was at first.”

Luckily, someone in the building next door heard the explosion and ran over to assist. A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived.

The paramedics put Jimmy on a stretcher and cut open his corduroy shirt. They saw a one and a half inch shard of PVC that was headed towards his vital organs had been stopped when it snagged on his Nebraska Lottery t-shirt.

"That old t-shirt saved my life," he said.

Jimmy was released from the hospital the next day with an eye patch that he had to wear for some time. He also had to come back for years to undergo multiple surgeries to remove the PVC that was lodged in his arms.

This year, Jimmy had his second lucky experience with the Nebraska Lottery. He purchased a Golden Cherry Multiplier ticket and scanned it at the retailer. The scanner displayed a message he'd never seen before: “Winner, take to lottery.”

It turned out Jimmy had won the game's $20,000 top prize. The lottery made sure that that he received two t-shirts when he visited!

Jimmy revealed to lottery officials that he had lost his wife only a month and a half before his jackpot win. “She’s looking out for me,” he said.

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