A millionaire but won’t quit his job
Published: January 17, 2007 | 5320th good news item since 2003
Waukegan High School Counselor Ray Cave is just like any other person.
He spends time with his son, hangs out at a local tavern and supports local high school athletics.
That has all changed since Dec. 21 when he scratched off a game-winning $1 million Instant Lotto ticket, assuring him of $720,000 after state taxes.
“There were only four people in Jesters at the time, including the cook and the bartender,” Cave said. “I kept scratching off the winning ticket and the more I scratched it went up from 1,000 to 10,000, and I began shaking the more I scratched it off.”
Cave did not believe he won after realizing the ticket was worth a million.
“I had the bartender verify the winnings in a scanning machine and I realized I won. I called my girlfriend, my relatives and they all didn’t believe me, which was disappointing,” Cave said.
The anxiety crept up on him when he returned to his Waukegan home. He said he was sick to his stomach and “was afraid to go to sleep because he thought he would wake up and realize it was a dream he won a million dollars at Jesters.”
His stomach pains over the anxiety caused him to call in sick for the day at Waukegan High.
Despite the winnings, Cave does not anticipate quitting his job as a full-time counselor at Waukegan High.
“Absolutely not. There are too many great kids there. I have been there for 16 years from being everything from a teacher to wrestling coach and now I am a counselor,” he said. “I plan on staying there to set an example for my son, Michael.”
Cave said he is looking forward to using the winnings to take care of his son’s short- and long-term future.
His number one priority after he receives the winnings is to set up a trust fund for his son so he can attend any college of his choice.
“I want him to know that his college tuition is taken care of,” Cave said.
The newfound winnings will allow the two Caves to do more extra activities his son would have never dreamed.
“We do a lot of things together, such as going to professional baseball games, fishing. We love to fish. We go fishing around the area here,” Cave said. “In the summer we go to the beach. I try to be active with him as much as I can. What I am really looking forward is to is professional events such as football and basketball.”
With the expensive prices of football and basketball games, he was unable to take his son to the games prior to his winning ticket.
“He loves football just as much as I do. He is a huge Bear fan and what I am really excited about is instead of saying, ‘We will watch the Bears on TV, we will see the Bears,'” Cave said. “Those are the memories my son will remember for life.”
The 48-year-old is hoping the wealth will not change peoples’ perspective of him.
“I want to stay the person I am. I love the people around me, I love the people here at Jesters and I love the people at Waukegan High School. I want to be the same person,” Cave said. “I want to still be able to walk into Jesters and people still greet me as ‘Rey’ and just be known as someone more financially comfortable.”
In addition to being part of Waukegan High, he is a part-time teacher at the College of Lake County’s Lakeshore Campus.
“I plan on completing my one-year contract with them and then resigning,” Cave said. “I spent every Monday night doing paperwork until 10 and now I look forward to watching “Monday Night Football” here at Jesters.”
Cave has a sense of sentimentality toward what he does for a living and stresses the importance of children and the impact it has had in his life.
“I could have made much more money working for a corporation but I felt that my calling was to be in education and work with teenagers and helping them,” Cave said. “Instead of receiving financial gain in this, I received what people perceive as priceless, working with kids and watching kids I have seen since grade school mature and grow into a successful young people. For me, that is priceless over any amounts of money.”
As he receives his $720,000 lump sum from the Illinois Lottery Commission, he will be working with Great Lakes Financial, his bank, to set up a financial plan.
The newest millionaire was struck twice with lottery fever, winning $10,000 in a previous scratch off at the same place, Jesters at 1500 N. Lewis Ave.
“I had to claim the winnings at the lottery center in Des Plaines and I held onto it and feared it wouldn’t be legit when I deposited it into the bank,” Cave said.
Jesters will receive $10,000 of the winnings for being the location which issued the ticket.
Jesters’ owner Ken Mathis will use the $10,000 for cost of bar operations and due to the slow activity since the holiday rush, will be used to help offset costs.