RALEIGH – David Coman, a retired paper mill worker from Canton in Haywood County, likes to buy lottery tickets from the Southside store on Pisgah Drive in his hometown. He routinely asks the clerk to pick his tickets for him for good luck.

His routine paid off on Christmas Eve when the clerk chose for him a holiday-themed Greetings of Gold ticket that later turned out to be worth $100,000. Coman was sitting at home when he scratched off the $5 game’s top prize.

“I had to read it a few times,” Coman said. “It still hasn’t soaked in yet, but it feels good.”

Coman plans to use his winnings, worth $68,001 after taxes were withheld, to pay bills and save for the future.

As of Wednesday afternoon, two top prizes of $100,000 and many other prizes remain unclaimed in the game.

Ticket sales for games such as instant scratch-offs have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.58 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Haywood County education programs received more than $11.2 million in lottery funds. 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.