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Park ranger who was furloughed in NY during shutdown wins lottery

A park ranger in New York City who was furloughed for weeks during the partial government shutdown won a lottery jackpot worth nearly $30 million.

Judith Smith, a resident of New Jersey, was announced by the New Jersey Lottery as a winner on Wednesday after purchasing the winning ticket in December, according to lottery officials.

Smith held onto the ticket for weeks after learning she had won while she gathered financial and legal advice. It's unclear when exactly Smith came forward with the winning ticket.

"Judith told Lottery officials she had put the winning ticket in a safe place, which they checked regularly, while taking time to consult with an attorney before coming to lottery offices," the New Jersey Lottery said in a news release.

Smith bought the ticket Dec. 17 - just days before the shutdown began - at a local wine and liquor store in Bayonne, N.J., the town where she resides.

The New Jersey Lottery said that Smith works for the National Park Service out of the historic Fort Wadsworth site in Staten Island, N.Y., which was impacted by the shutdown.

"This dedicated worker was waiting along with her colleagues through days of being furloughed without pay and an uncertain determination about when this furlough might end," the statement read.

The jackpot won by Smith is the largest New Jersey Lottery Pick-6 win in the state since 2004.

The 35-day partial government shutdown was the longest in history, impacting more than 800,000 federal workers before coming to an end late last month.