Queen of Hearts fundraiser with $1M jackpot draws crowds to Morris

MORRIS, Ill. (WLS) -- People are lining up outside of the VFW in Morris for a chance to strike it rich. They've all heard about the jackpot of more than $1 million and they want to win it.

The Morris VFW Queen of Hearts fundraiser started last year. Now there are only three numbers left to choose from, one of those numbers has the queen of hearts behind it and with that comes a winning pot of more than $1 million.

"I know a lot of people say it's crazy now, crazy was about three months ago. Right now I'm calling it insanity," said Jim Maskel, auxillary treasurer for VFW Post 6049.

VFW Post 6049 has raised $1.5 million with its Queen of Hearts fundraiser.

"We've had people reporting in from Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana all over and a lot of say they are coming just for this drawing," Maskel said.

The fundraiser is open to the public. Entrants write their name and phone number on the tickets and choose a number from this chart. If the Queen of Hearts is behind the number they chose, the winner gets 70-percent of ticket sales.

"We come here every week and we put like $200 to $300 in tickets wanting to win that, wanting to win that big bucks. Everybody is in it to win it," said Mary Kay Wheatley, a fundraiser participant.

"I just bought 60 dollars' worth and I hope to win!" said Bruce Morrick, another fundraiser participant.

Organizers say social media advertising brought the bigger crowds and prize money. With only three numbers left, the lines have been out the door and the parking lot full all day. Several people have resorted to parking in the nearby neighborhood.

"This is crazy, they got no respect for these neighbors whatsoever," said Ralph Candelli, who lives near the VFW.

Last week, Ralph Candelli's wife had a minor heart attack. He said it took emergency responders 30 minutes to get through the crowded streets because of the overflow from the VFW fundraiser.

"He had to lay on, wail on the siren before someone would move," Candelli said. "I'm just totally disgusted."

Regarding the complaints, the VFW said it has since cut down on ticket sale hours and asked the local police to increase patrol officers in the area.

As much as people inside here are excited to see who will win this, neighbors outside just want it to be over.

They might not have to wait for long. The next drawing will be next Monday.
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