06/24/07 — She scratched ... and won $50,000 in N.C. Lottery

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She scratched ... and won $50,000 in N.C. Lottery

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 24, 2007 2:00 AM

When Jamie Strauch of Goldsboro scratched off a $50,000 lottery ticket, it was like any other day.

For Jerry King and 10 of his coffee buddies, it was another day of trying to capture the Powerball prize.

Both ended up winners.

Mrs. Strauch had always bought scratch-off tickets each morning on her way to work ever since the day a couple months ago when she won $100.

"Three of us at work play all the time," she said.

But May 26 turned out to be a very special day.

Mrs. Strauch bought the crossword ticket and scratched off eight words. She won $100. The ninth word was worth $1,000. Then came the shocker when she scratched off the next -- $50,000.

"There was nobody more surprised than me," she said.

Mrs. Strauch doubled back to the Spence Market at 900 N. Spence Ave. on her way home from work that afternoon. She checked with clerk Jim Frye to see if she had a winner.

"I said, 'Could you verify this? I think I won something.'"

"You've got to go to Greenville for this one," he told her.

It was the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and she slept with her purse.

"I didn't go anywhere," she said.

Her husband, Judson, told her not to hide the ticket in the house. It might burn down.

Monday morning, she drove straight to Greenville, cashed in the ticket, put the money in the bank and went back to work.

"I've already given some to my children. I paid a bill, and I'm having a good time," she said.

She even bought a plane ticket to go see her grandchildren in August.

And she wasn't the only lucky one.

The Wednesday following Memorial Day, a group of 10 coffee buddies won $20,000 playing Powerball at the Handy Mart No. 4 at 2011 W. U.S. 70 where they drink coffee in the mornings.

Jerry King is one of the winners. He said the group started out with just three men in January playing Powerball. They always got the Powerplay card for $2 to go with the several tickets they bought each time, and they played every drawing.

Through the months, they have won $4 here, $7 there.

"We're up to 40 drawings now," he said. "On the average, if you don't count the big win, we get back about 25 percent -- on the average."

They never thought they would break even until the big win May 30.

Then the elation turned to disappointment.

The group had four white balls matching and the Powerball, which would have brought them $10,000. The Powerplay made it $20,000.

All five white balls would have brought them $400,000.

Their white ball that did not match was 24.

The one that popped up was 23.

All six balls wins the jackpot.

"We missed $20 million by one digit," he said. "We're happy as larks that we won what we won, but we won the least we could with that many numbers."