RALEIGH – Just a few hours after Thursday night’s Carolina Cash 5 drawing, Wesley Harrelson of Wilmington sat in disbelief in the winner’s lobby at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. Harrelson, who owns and operates Harrelson Electric Company, matched all five numbers in the drawing and won half of the $676,684 jackpot.

Harrelson first learned of his good luck on Friday morning when he checked his numbers on the lottery’s website. He confirmed his win when he scanned his ticket at Russell’s Quik Stop on Wrightsville Avenue, where he made his lucky purchase.

“It was a ‘wow’ moment,” Harrelson said. “You always wish to win but you never expect to. But it just goes to show you, no one really knows. If I can win, anyone can.”

Harrelson’s ticket was worth $338,342. He plans to use his winnings, worth $230,073 after taxes were withheld, to pay bills and take a trip to Florida.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” Harrelson said as he held his check for the first time. “This really makes things easier.”

The second winning ticket from Thursday’s drawing was purchased by someone at the Duck Thru Food Store on U.S. 158 in Camden. The winner has 180 days to claim their share of the jackpot at N.C. Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh.

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 $41.2 million in lottery dollars have made a difference in New Hanover County, go to the Where the Money Goes webpage at http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/beneficiary.aspx.