Todd Nelson was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in the 1999 graduating class of Hale High School.
Does winning $4,000 a week for life count?
“It’s going to be interesting at the next class reunion,” Nelson, 31, laughed as he claimed the top prize on the Lottery’s $10 Cash for Life ticket. “I never thought I was going to win. It’s a life changing event.
“I sat there pinching myself, thinking I was dreaming.”
The lucky player, an LPN who is a graduate of Kirkland Community College in Roscommon, is currently unemployed. With a prize that has given him the luxury of not having to worry about his job status, Nelson said, “All the bad stress went away.”
Immediately after claiming his prize, Nelson was going to see his dad, who is recovering from a stroke in a rehab center, to tell him he needn’t worry about losing his house to medical expenses. “Hopefully my win will give him inspiration. Now we can pay for everything.”
In fact, the first order of business for Nelson will be to take care of his dad’s mortgage, as well as his student and car loans. “Then I’m going to build a new house for me and my dad,” he said proudly.
Other plans include donations to medical causes important to him, as well as his church, and some travel. He also said he might want to do volunteer work.
Nelson was particularly pleased that he purchased the ticket at the Hale Shell Station in his hometown. He was claiming $50 on two instant tickets–previously his largest Lottery win–at the station and turned that into $4,000 a week when he bought the lucky Cash for Life ticket at the same time.
As he was scratching the ticket at lunch yesterday and saw what he believed to be a top winning ticket, he thought, “That can’t be right!”
Nelson took the ticket back to the store and the retailer confirmed that he had a winner. The player then called the Lottery office, wanting to turn the ticket in as soon as possible.
“I asked ‘when’s the soonest I can come in to claim it?’”
To make sure he didn’t lose the ticket, Nelson said, “It’s been with me since I scratched it off.”
Nelson then called his best friend, George Korczowski. Even though he said “I’ve got some really, really good news” and told him about the winning ticket, Korczowski didn’t believe him.
“I thought, ‘there’s no way’,” Korczowski said. But when Nelson told him about his call to the Lottery and the claims process, he realized that his friend did in fact win the Lottery.
Nelson, who occasionally buys Instant and Mega Millions tickets for the dream of winning, said he would probably continue to play the Lottery. “I don’t expect I will win again, but you never know!”