STATE: ‘Hootin’ and hollerin’ heard in Harmony after $1 million win in Iredell County

RALEIGH – A celebration broke out in an Iredell County convenience store on Thursday after Jo Anne Brown of Harmony won a $1 million prize on a scratch-off ticket.

“I think everybody in the surrounding area knew we won,” Brown laughed. “We were hootin’ and hollerin’ for sure.”

Brown bought her lucky $10 Jumbo Bucks ticket from Fast Phil’s on Harmony Highway in Harmony. She scratched the ticket right there in the store.

“We just kept screaming, ‘We are millionaires,’” Brown recalled. “It was like a dream.”

Brown’s husband Kerry, also in the store, joined in the celebration.

“Some things are just meant to be,” he said. “We all did a lot of happy crying.”

When Brown arrived at lottery headquarters Friday, she had a decision to make. She could choose to receive her prize as an annuity of $50,000 over 20 years or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump-sum amount of $600,000 and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $427,503. She said they would use the winnings to help with her retirement.

“This money will help make that happen,” Brown said. “It’s a life-changing event for us. That’s for sure.”

Brown said they would also use the money to help out their family and perhaps put a pond on their property so their grandkids could go fishing.

The N.C. Education Lottery’s Play Smart program educates and empowers North Carolinians to make smart decisions when they play the lottery. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the lottery highlights Play Smart to help ensure when North Carolinians play the lottery it doesn’t become more than a game. Visit nclottery.com/PlaySmart to learn how the Play Smart program helps someone create a game plan to keep lottery play fun. If you or someone you know needs support, visit morethanagame.nc.gov/ for free, confidential help.