RALEIGH – A security guard from Winston-Salem and a factory worker from Asheboro claimed the first two $1 million Powerball prizes of 2013 on Monday.
The two big wins came in consecutive Powerball drawings. Both players matched all five white balls but not the red Powerball to win the $1 million prize.
The security guard, Mike Conrad, was reading the Winston-Salem Journal when he compared his Powerball numbers to those drawn in the Jan. 23 drawing.
"I realized I had five white balls and no red ball," Conrad recalled. "I couldn't remember if it was $200,000 or $1 million."
When he confirmed his ticket was worth $1 million, Conrad said he felt blessed. He said he wants to invest his winnings wisely. He met with his tax preparer Monday morning and plans to talk with a financial adviser later this week.
"I want to use it in the future to retire," he said Monday afternoon as he collected his winnings at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. "I'm going to keep working. Right now I'm not changing a thing."
Conrad did say that he planned to use a portion of his winnings, worth $680,001 after taxes, to make home repairs and pay off medical bills. He also planned to keep playing Powerball. He purchased his winning ticket at the Harris Teeter on Clemmons Road in Clemmons.
The second $1 million winner, Terry Gray of Asheboro, says he plans to use his Powerball prize from the Saturday, Jan. 26 drawing to save for his future retirement.
“I pulled up the numbers on the computer and said to my wife ‘That’s a million dollars’,” Gray said. “I had to look at it a few times. It’s just luck, that’s all I can tell you. It feels really good.”
Gray received a check for $680,001 after state and federal taxes were withheld. He purchased his winning ticket at Kelly’s 49 on Old N.C. 49 in Denton.
Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is an estimated $151 million if taken as an annuity or $95.8 million if taken as a lump sum. Players who match all five white balls but not the red Powerball beat odds of 1 in 5.1 million.
Since the lottery began through Dec. 30, 2012, ticket sales for games such as Powerball have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.6 billion for education initiatives statewide. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.