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Woman who threw away $1million winning lottery ticket gets it back

A Massachusetts woman who accidentally threw away a $1million lottery ticket still got her jackpot thanks to the kindness and honesty of the owners of the store where she bought it.

Lea Rose Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March at the Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick, near were she works.

‚I was in a hurry, on lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, and looked at it, and it didn’t look like a winner, so I handed it over to them to throw away,‘ she said Monday.

Lea Rose Fiega won $1 million from the Massachusetts lottery after a convenience store owners' son found her winning ticket in the trash

Lea Rose Fiega won $1 million from the Massachusetts lottery after a convenience store owners‘ son found her winning ticket in the trash

The ticket lay behind the counter for 10 days, before the store owners‘ son decided to check the discarded tickets on March 26. 

‚I was going through the tickets from the trash and found out that she didn’t scratch the number,‘ Abhi Shah recounted to WWLP-TV. ‚I scratched the number and it was $1million underneath the ticket.‘

He remembered his mother, Aruna, selling the ticket to Fiega, whom Aruna and store owner Manuish knew as a regular at the convenience store.

Shah decided to visit Fiega at work three days later.

‚He came to my office and said „My Mom and Dad would like to see you,“‚ Fiega recalled. ‚I said „I’m working,“ and he said „no you have to come over.“‚

She started worrying something was wrong, Shah later told , but he assured Fiega: ‚No, it’s something good. It will change your life.‘

Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March, but forgot to scratch off one diamond, which revealed she won $1 million

Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March, but forgot to scratch off one diamond, which revealed she won $1 million

When she entered the store later, Shah handed Fiega the ticket, and began to cry. 

‚I mean, who does that?‘ Fiega asked, rhetorically. ‚They’re great people. I am beyond blessed.‘

She said she overcame a near-fatal bout of COVID-19 in January, which was also like ‚winning the lottery,‘ so she feels doubly fortunate. 

The store gets a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket, and Fiega said she gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement.

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West Virginia offers rifles and shotguns as prizes in vaccine lottery

West Virginia is planning to give away custom hunting rifles and shotguns as part of a lottery to convince reluctant residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Governor Jim Justice announced the full list of prizes for the state’s first vaccine lottery on Tuesday, with a top prize of $1 million and a slew of other incentives for vaccinated residents.

The first drawing will be held on Father’s Day, June 20, and more drawings will be held weekly though August 4.

To be eligible, residents of The Mountain State must have received at least one dose of any approved COVID vaccine before the date of the drawing. 

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the full list of prizes for the state's first vaccine lottery on Tuesday, with a top prize of $1 million, and guns also in the drawing

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice announced the full list of prizes for the state’s first vaccine lottery on Tuesday, with a top prize of $1 million, and guns also in the drawing

West Virginia gun shop owner Chad Mercer is seen in a file photo. Lottery prizes for getting vaccinated in West Virginia will include custom hunting rifles and shotguns

West Virginia gun shop owner Chad Mercer is seen in a file photo.

Lottery prizes for getting vaccinated in West Virginia will include custom hunting rifles and shotguns

‚There are going to be so many wonderful prizes that you can win, it will blow you away,‘ Justice, a Republican, said last week, announcing the lottery. 

‚We are going to make a few West Virginians millionaires before this is over.

Some people will win trucks and scholarships and on and on, but we’ve got to get you vaccinated first,‘ he said.

The list of prizes for the first drawing includes:

  • One prize of $1 million
  • Two full four-year scholarships to any West Virginia institution (must be aged 12-25)
  • Two custom F-150 trucks
  • 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia state parks
  • Five lifetime hunting and fishing licenses
  • Five custom hunting rifles
  • Five custom shotguns

Hunting is hugely popular in West Virginia, and generates hundreds of millions annually for the state’s economy, much of it benefitting small rural communities. 

Last week, Justice brought his English Bulldog, Babydog, to his briefing and said that Babydog will serve as the mascot of the vaccination incentive lottery program

Last week, Justice brought his English Bulldog, Babydog, to his briefing and said that Babydog will serve as the mascot of the vaccination incentive lottery program

Early in the vaccine rollout, West Virginia led the nation, a success attributed to the state’s reliance on local mom-and-pop pharmacies that are trusted in their communities.

But over time, West Virginia has fallen behind a number of other states in vaccination rates.

According to state data, 51 percent of West Virginians have received at least one does of coronavirus vaccine, and 41 percent are fully vaccinated. 

That’s still slightly above the national average, but Governor Justice hopes that the state funded vaccine lottery will spur holdouts to take the shot. 

First lady Jill Biden and actress Jennifer Garner, right, speak to people being vaccinated for COVID-19 at Capitol High School in Charleston, West Virginia last month

First lady Jill Biden and actress Jennifer Garner, right, speak to people being vaccinated for COVID-19 at Capitol High School in Charleston, West Virginia last month

‚Not only are a bunch of people going to win all kinds of great stuff, but, by getting vaccinated, it’ll protect your life and it’ll protect your family and friends all around you,‘ Justice said of the lottery.

The slogan for the program will be ‚Save a life; change your life.‘

The date of the first prize drawing, June 20, is also the 158th anniversary of West Virginia’s admission to the Union as a new state.

Last week, Justice brought his English Bulldog, Babydog, to his briefing and said that Babydog will serve as the mascot of the vaccination incentive lottery program.

‚If you won’t do it for me, if you won’t do it for your family, you’ve got to get vaccinated for Babydog,‘ Justice said.

‚She wants you vaccinated so badly.‘ 

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