For over 10 years, Irene Tillman of Goldston has been the mail carrier for Route 24 in Chatham County. It came as no surprise to her Saturday when the number “24” of her postal service route turned out to be the lucky number on a scratch-off ticket that won her a $1 million prize.

“When I saw it,” Tillman said. “I thought, ‘This really is meant to be.’”
Tillman bought the $30 ticket at the Shalom Gas and Cash Mart on NC 42 in Goldston.

When she saw that she won $1 million, Tillman couldn’t believe it.

“It’s unreal,” Tillman said. “I was so excited, I had to go back into the store and sit down.”

Tillman claimed her prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. She had the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump sum, and after federal and state tax withholdings received $417,015. She plans to use the money to pay bills. She also wants to install another washer and dryer in her home.

Ultimate Millions launched in September 2015 with four top prizes of $10 million and 18 prizes of $1 million. One top prize and one $1 million prize remains. There is also a second-chance drawing with a prize of $1 million.

Ticket sales from games like Ultimate Millions made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $634 million for the state last year. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in Chatham County, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.