RALEIGH – While on a road trip of more than 3,000 miles, a Kansas man happened to pick up a lottery ticket worth $100,000 in the Tar Heel State.
Fidel Herrera’s adventure started two weeks ago when he drove from Kansas to visit family in Maryland. From there, Herrera and his adult nephew embarked on a multi-state road trip, which included a pit stop at the International Food Market on North Raleigh Street in Angier. That’s where Herrera bought a Mega Bucks ticket for $5.
Herrera didn’t scratch the ticket right away. In fact, it wasn’t until after dropping his nephew in Maryland and driving all the way back to his home in Dodge City that he discovered he won the lottery in North Carolina.
At first Herrera thought he’d won $10 or $100. When he saw the $100,000 prize amount, he was shocked.
“Wow!” he exclaimed. “I don’t believe it! Oh my God, we’re winners!”
On Sunday evening, Herrera returned to North Carolina – this time by airplane – to collect his winnings at lottery headquarters on Monday morning. His nephew made the drive from Maryland to meet him in Raleigh to celebrate his good luck.
After state and federal taxes were withheld, Herrera received a check for $68,001. Herrera, who has worked as a machine operator for 20 years, said his prize money would pay for his two daughters to go to college.
College scholarships and grants based on need are among the education programs that benefit from lottery funds in North Carolina. Two of the state’s major financial aid programs, UNC Need-Based Grants and the N.C. Education Lottery Scholarship, will distribute $73 million in lottery dollars during the 2012-13 school year to help students cover the costs of attending state universities and community colleges.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.45 billion for need-based college scholarships and financial aid as well as teachers’ salaries, school construction, and prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds.