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Couple wins $1 million while visiting Smith Mountain Lake


Jerry and Jo Mears of Eden, North Carolina, like to relax at their place at Smith Mountain Lake. On a recent trip, Jerry decided to buy some Mega Millions tickets, which at the time had a jackpot totaling $1 billion.

“I just felt lucky,” the retiree said. So he stopped at Whistle Stop, located at 11729 Old Franklin Turnpike in Union Hall and bought $30 worth of tickets. Turns out, he came very close to hitting the jackpot. One of his tickets matched the first five numbers and missed only the Mega Ball number. That wins Mega Millions’ second prize of $1 million. Although he discovered his million-dollar win at 3:00 in the morning, he waited until 6:30 to wake up Jo.

“I said, ‘How does it feel to be a millionaire?’” he told Virginia Lottery officials. “She thought I was crazy.”

On October 24, Jo officially redeemed the winning ticket on behalf of the couple and collected the $1 million prize from the Virginia Lottery. The store receives a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

Jo, who is a dental hygienist, said the winnings will help take care of their three daughters.

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday nights at 11. Drawings are broadcast on TV stations across Virginia and streamed live at www.valottery.com. The odds of matching the first five numbers in Mega Millions are 1 in 12,607,306.

When it comes to education, the Virginia Lottery is game. The winning ticket bought in Franklin County, which received more than $4.5 million in lottery funds for K-12 education last fiscal year. For more information and a complete list of lottery funds distributed to Virginia school districts, click here.

Now in its 30th year, the Virginia Lottery generates more than $1.6 million per day for Virginia’s K-12 public schools. Operating entirely on revenue from the sale of Lottery products, the Lottery generated more than $600 million for Virginia’s public schools in Fiscal Year 2018. For more info, visit our website, download our app, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and check us out on YouTube. Please play responsibly.

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