Retiree, Robert Carter, 65, has been playing the lottery since 1979, but had never won more than $7 so he wore a big smile on his face yesterday when he visited the Virginia Lottery headquarters in Charleston and claimed a $1 million prize.
Carter's luck took a turn for the better at the beginning of last month when he was one of four players who successfully matched five of the numbers drawn in the US Powerball drawing held on Saturday, August 2, 2014.
Carter purchased his winning ticket from his local Go-Mart store in Poca, West Virginia. He is the 12th West Virginian player this year who has won a lottery prize of $1 million or more.
A former Verizon Employee, Carter also has 21 years of military service under his belt, and is looking forward to enjoying his retirement without the need for any money worries.
After 35 years of dedicated playing, he said it was nice to finally get something back.
"I think I’ve broke even now," he joked.
Carter's wife, Helen, checked the ticket on Sunday August 3, but had difficulty contacting the winner to tell him the news.
"I was on my way to visit my sister in Pennsylvania and was driving through one of those dark spots on I-79," Carter explained. "When I got back into service I had about 100 messages of my phone from them."
Carter rang Helen at once and got the surprise of his life when she said: "Stop the car! Get out of the car, don’t drive—you won the lottery."
When asked about his plans for the money, Carter said he intends to pay of his home and other debts, and hopes to take Helen on a special trip to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.