A longtime friendship turned into a lucky one as Denise Schmitt and Keith Powell of Corolla claimed a $1 million lottery prize.
“We’ve been friends for 15 years,” Schmitt said. “My husband and Keith have been playing the lottery together since they met back in Pennsylvania.”
Their lucky story began when Powell stopped by the Harris Teeter on Currituck Clubhouse Drive in Corolla and bought a $10 Red Hot Million$ scratch-off ticket.
“I had some down time at work,” said Powell, a restaurant manager. “I figured I’d test my luck since I didn’t have any tables to take care of.”
Powell brought the ticket back to work and had the owner, Schmitt’s husband, scratch the ticket.
“They couldn’t believe it when they saw how much they won,” Schmitt said. “My husband came home to put the ticket in the safe and told me, ‘Guess what? We own half of a scratch-off ticket worth $1 million.’ I was like, ‘That’s great!’”
Schmitt and Powell claimed the prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. They 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. They chose the lump sum. After federal and state tax withholdings, they split $424,503. They plan to save and invest the money.
Red Hot Million$ launched earlier this month with four $1 million top prizes. Two $1 million prizes remain.
Ticket sales from games like Red Hot Million$ make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $650 million a year for education.