South Florida lottery winner gets day named in his honor

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - After winning the lottery, a South Florida man paid it forward and donated some of his winnings. Now, Broward County is naming a day in his honor.

Coral Springs resident Miguel Pilgram won $52 million by playing the Florida Lottery in 2010 and chose to accept the money in a lump sum payment. The final total? $29 million.

The winning ticket was played at a Shell gas station in North Bay Village. Pilgram did not spend all of the money on himself, however. He decided to give back to underprivileged residents of Broward County.

In return, Broward County has named Tuesday, Feb. 6, as Miguel Pilgram Day.

“So easy to just walk away,” said Pilgram. “I’m not about the easy path. I wasn’t raised that way. There’s so much historical culture that needs to be preserved.”

Pilgram created the Pilgram Group, which focuses on commercial and residential real estate in the Fort Lauderdale area.

“We’re opening up the downtown, new NYSW jazz lounge about a week from now, as well as the clothing line that’s coming out,” said Pilgram.

He added that they will also be constructing sustainable buildings along Sistrunk Boulevard.

Pilgram’s mother is proud and gives praise to her son.

“It’s just him,” she said. “It’s the fabric of who he is, who he always has been.”

The Lotto winner said he does have advice for future winners, though.

“If you’re a person who’s lazy, when you win a lot of money you’re going to be lazier,” Pilgram said. “If you’re a person who doesn’t have much faith, you’re going to be a very unfaithful person when you win a lot of money. But if you’re going to do better, prepare yourself to start all over — everything, you know?”

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