NC Former 911 Operator of 31 Years Wins Powerball Prize

A North Carolina woman who worked as a 911 operator for three decades has hit a $100,000 Powerball win - and had to check she wasn't still dreaming before she believed her good luck.

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Donna Graziose, who lives in Leland in Brunswick County, won the amazing prize in the Wednesday, September 2 drawing. The full winning numbers were white balls 1, 4, 11, 20, 69 and the red Powerball 18.

Graziose's ticket matched four of the white ball numbers plus the Powerball to win the game's third tier prize. Normally that's worth $50,000, but since Graziose added Power Play for an extra $1 when she purchased the ticket, the 2X Power Play multiplier number drawn on September 2 doubled her win to $100,000.

The morning after the draw, Graziose, who had purchased her ticket online, woke up to see an email informing her of a win. However, after reading the message, she was still left in suspense. "It said I won but didn’t say the amount, so I thought, 'I better check this out quick!''" she recalled.

As it turned out, the win was very real. After confirming the numbers online, she woke up to her husband to tell him the exciting news.

"But he didn’t believe me," she said, laughing. "It was very exciting in the morning to wake up to that."

Graziose visited NC Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh recently to claim her prize. After federal and state tax withholdings, she collected $70,751. She told officials that she and her husband will use the winnings to "pay off our cars, and the rest will go into savings."

Games like Powerball drive the Lottery revenues that contribute over $725 million per year for education in North Carolina.

Second Recent Powerball Win in North Carolina

Graziose's win comes after another recent big Powerball prize was hit in the Tar Heel State.

Chao Sun started playing his lucky numbers back in March, and months later his persistence finally paid off when he scored a $2 million win in the Wednesday, August 26 Powerball draw.

The Advance resident's ticket matched all five white ball numbers: 8, 12, 19, 47 and 58. Normally that would score the game's Match 5 second prize of $1 million. However, because Sun added Power Play to his ticket, his prize value increased to $2 million!

"Definitely it’s a big shock," Sun said. "And a big help. I never thought $2 million."

The aerospace design engineer chose his winning numbers based on special birthdays plus a lunar calendar year.

When he checked his ticket, "I see it says $2 million and I’m thinking, 'Is this right?'" he said. "Then I go back to check my numbers again and I go, 'Oh, it is!'"

Reflecting on how the win would change his family's life, he said, "I think the first thing my wife is thinking is if the kids want to buy a house or something, we can help," said Sun. "That’s the big thing."

Powerball and Mega Millions Jackpots at $141 Million

The current Powerball jackpot for the next draw on Wednesday, October 14 is an estimated $72 million as an annuity, with a cash value of $56.3 million.

Check out the Smartpicks page for the latest hot, cold and overdue numbers.

Want to play sooner? Mega Millions will be drawn tonight, Tuesday, October 13, with a top prize of $69 million ($53.4 million cash option) available to be won.

You can purchase tickets for both draws now.

Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, October 13, 2020