RALEIGH – An Asheville couple who won $1 million in the May 11 Powerball drawing has claimed their prize money. Ron and Regina Phelps, who are both nurses, presented the winning ticket at lottery headquarters on Tuesday. It matched all five white balls drawn, but not the red Powerball, beating odds of 1 in 5.1 million.
Regina made the lucky purchase at the Ingles Market on New Leicester Highway in Asheville on the day of the drawing. The next morning, Regina saw her Powerball ticket clipped to the calendar on the refrigerator door.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I should check that ticket,’” recalled Regina. “I saw the numbers matching: 6, 13, 19, 23, 43. And I said ‘Oh my God.’ That’s when I tried to call Ron.”
She got his voicemail. Although Regina knew she had won $1 million, her message to him was phrased delicately.
“I think something good has happened,” she said. In the interest of making that good thing last, the couple met with a financial planner last week. After state and federal taxes were withheld, they received a check for $680,000.
Ron and Regina have more than 60 combined years of experience in the medical field. After all that time providing care, Regina said winning the lottery gives them options.
“It means we can actually think about retirement in a more positive way,” she said. The couple added that they would enjoy their good fortune with their two adult children and grandchild.
The Phelps family’s claim represents the fourth and final $1 million prize won during the record Powerball jackpot run that ended on Saturday. The other $1 million winners are from Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Winston-Salem.
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Buncombe County education programs received more than $40.5 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.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.8 billion for these initiatives statewide.