California Hotshot wins $1.3 million in lottery

Steven Woodlief
Steven Woodlief. Photo by California Lottery.

A U.S. Forest Service firefighter in California won $1,000 a week for the next 25 years of his life in the state lottery. Steven Woodlief, a member of the Shasta Lake Hotshots based in Lakehead. California 20 miles north of Redding, has not said if he is going to retire, or continue to fight fire. But he did mention buying a new truck.

Below is an article from the lottery commission:


U.S. Forest Service Firefighter’s Blazing Hot Luck Leads to $1.3 Million Win in Shasta County!

It’s grueling and dangerous – yet it’s an exceptionally rewarding line of work. But talk about exhausting! That’s why nobody can blame Steven Woodlief for “lying in bed all day” during his time off from the fire house on Wednesday.

Little did the 24-year-old U.S. Forest Service firefighter from Shasta County know he would wake up and become a millionaire. Not a dream this time! “First I went to my nephew’s Tee Ball game, and then I went to the gas station to cash in $15 worth of Scratchers® I had in my pocket.”

Woodlief (who is a member of the elite Shasta Lake Hotshots firefighter crew based out of Redding) decided he would take his $15 in “found money” and invest it in a few more $2 California Lucky Life tickets. After his purchase, he said he drove over to his parents’ house and started scratching away. “I saw ‘LIFE’ in the square and told my dad that I thought I won. He took it from me and started reading back and forth making sure it was ‘legit!’ From there I was nervous and in shock!” the Anderson resident remembered with a laugh.

Who can blame him? By uncovering the “LIFE” logo, Woodlief won $1,000 every single week for the next 25 years of his life! That’s a grand total of $1.3 million before Uncle Sam gets his cut. This young firefighter actually thought it might be his lucky day after he started scratching his small stash of tickets and immediately won a free $2 game. From there it got better. Much, much better!

“I took it (the $1.3 million winner) back to the gas station where I bought it to make sure it was ‘legit.’ We scanned it into their little scanner and it came out ‘give funds: one million, three hundred thousand dollars.’ He (the clerk) was jumping up and down for me. We know him. He’s a high school student and he was just jumping for joy!” Woodlief recalled.

Speaking of the retailer – Gas Point Market, which is located at 19980 Gas Point Road in Cottonwood – gets to cash in on the big win as well. As a bonus for selling the $1.3 million ticket, Gas Point Market receives a very sweet $6,500 in cash.

Woodlief has already decided he’ll be buying a new truck with his winnings, while possibly investing the rest. “I don’t have a for sure plan at all. I’m still in shock. I’m just staring at the (jumbo) check right now. It’s amazing.” “

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.