RALEIGH – Eric Baptist of Charlotte got an early birthday present on Tuesday as he claimed a $750,000 prize on his Jumbo Bucks ticket. Baptist, who turns 69 years old this week, plans to use the money to purchase a home for the first time in his life.

“We have been renting for years,” Baptist said. “I’ve always wanted a house of my own and now we can get it. I’m still trying to comprehend this. I’m just so grateful.”

On Sunday afternoon, Baptist and his wife decided to purchase a $10 Jumbo Bucks ticket at the Food Lion on Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road in Charlotte. After realizing they had won the game’s top prize, they drove to the lottery’s regional office in Charlotte on Monday to have their ticket verified.

“The whole time I kept thinking ‘It can’t be real.’ This sort of thing doesn’t happen to us,” Baptist said. “After they scanned the ticket, they told us we had to drive to Raleigh to claim the prize. This feels so great. It’s a wonderful blessing.”

Baptist said he also plans to use a portion of his winnings, worth $510,003 after state and federal taxes were withheld, to purchase a new car and share with his grandchildren. As of Wednesday afternoon, two top prizes remain to be claimed in the Jumbo Bucks game.

As of June 2013, the lottery has raised more than $2.9 billion to support education programs. Lottery dollars support teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction and repair projects, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, college scholarships and financial aid based on need and digital learning initiatives.

To see how more than $210.9 million in lottery dollars have made a difference in Mecklenburg County, visit the "Where the Money Goes" page on the lottery's website.