$250,000 lottery prize means early retirement for Thomasville truck driver

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Thomasville man is looking forward to retiring by the end of the year after he won a $250,000 lottery prize, according to a news release from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

“This is such a blessing,” Patrick Willard said. “This will let me retire in September. Then I can really start enjoying life.”

Willard, a truck driver, bought the winning Carolina Black scratch-off ticket Monday night when he stopped for gas at the Sheetz on Liberty Drive in Thomasville.

“I knew it was going to be cold this morning so I decided to go after work,” Willard said. “Can you imagine what would have happened if I waited until this morning? Someone else would have gotten the ticket.”

Willard pre-paid for his gas and then scratched the ticket while he was still in the store.

“I almost forgot to pump the gas I was so excited,” Willard said. “I showed it to the clerk and said, ‘Tell me if it’s true. Did I really win $250,000?’”

Willard claimed his prize Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $176,876.

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