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Prize is biggest lottery win in Alexander


John Wright
 
(Updated Sept. 8, 5:10 pm)
   
                                  
Wright wins $2.6 million

RALEIGH – Something about a morning fishing trip with a brother gave John Wright of Alexander County a “good feeling” so he bought two lottery tickets on the way home and landed $2.6 million as his catch of the day.

Wright said he and his brother spent Friday morning at Rink Dam on Lake Hickory, fishing for crappie, and caught about a dozen, including four keepers. Afterward, he went to the Pahal Shop and Save on N.C. 16 South in Taylorsville to try his luck with the lottery.

“I just got a funny feeling, a good feeling, and I stopped and brought two,” said Wright, an apple farmer. “The first didn’t have anything on it, and this was on the second one.”

Wright’s win of the top prize in the $2,500 A Week For Life! game is the biggest so far in Alexander County since the lottery started more than eight years ago.

The game is part of a family of four instant games that the Education Lottery always has on sale. The tickets are available for $1, $2, $5 and $10 per game and include prizes of as much as $5,000 a week for life. Wright played the $5 version of the game.  Winners can choose from one of two options to collect their winnings. A top prize is structured in annual payments that continue for a winner’s entire life. The guaranteed value of the prize is at least 20 years of payments to a winner or his designated estate. Top prize winners can also choose to claim their winnings as a lump sum with a cash value equal to the guaranteed prize amount. (The $2,500 a week payment for 20 years would have equaled $2.6 million.)

Wright, 59, chose a $1.7 million lump sum cash option, which amounted to $1,223,457 after taxes were withheld. He said his good luck would provide a more secure retirement and perhaps the fulfillment of a longtime dream.

“I’ve always dreamed of having a log cabin up on my land,” Wright said. “It might come true now.”

Wright is the first player to claim the top prize in the latest version of the $2,500 A Week for Life! game. As of Monday, two more top prizes remain to be claimed.

Ticket sales have made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $3.4 billion for the state, according to lottery personnel. North Carolina Education Lottery net proceeds will be used this year to help pay salaries of teachers and teacher assistants, for pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, school construction and repair, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid. For details on how more than $10 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Alexander County, click on the “Where the Money Goes” tab on the lottery’s website.




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