National News Desk

COVID-19 nurse wins improbable $1 million lottery prize

North Carolina Education Lottery


(DURHAM, N.C.) — A COVID-19 nurse at a long-term care facility in North Carolina has won a $1 million prize in the state lottery.

Terri Watkins from Durham, North Carolina, received a call informing her that she had won the million-dollar prize on Jan. 13 and her initial reaction to winning was complete disbelief.

“I thought that it was a scam. I was a little upset actually!” she recalled laughing. “I thought that it was not real, couldn’t be real.

Watkins, a nurse who works in the COVID unit of a long-term care facility in Durham, had a one in more than 513,000 chance in the final $300,000,000 Supreme Riches drawing on Wednesday.

“Just seeing some of the things that I’ve had to see, I am very thankful,” Watkins said according to a statement released by the North Carolina Education Lottery. “I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I’m very blessed.”

The North Carolina Education Lottery said that ticket sales from scratch-offs make it possible for the lottery to raise over $725 million a year for education in the state.

When asked about what her plans are following her improbable win, Watkins wasted no time coming up with ideas.

“I’m just gonna take it slow and easy and figure out what I’m gonna do,” said Watkins. “I would love a new home, but I’ve just got to take time and put it in the right place.”

Watkins made the decision to take a lump sum of $600,000 — $424,500 after required state and federal tax withholdings — rather than the $1 million as an annuity of $50,000 a year over 20 years.

She claimed her prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh.

Said Watkins: “It’s still something that I really don’t believe, I’m still in some shock here.”

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