RALEIGH, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Monte Hukill of High Point and his wife, Gage, are the first to win the top prize of $10 million in the 'Extreme Millions' scratch-off game, the NC Education Lottery announced on Wednesday.
Hukill, a Marine Corps veteran, stopped by the Fairway One Stop on Greensboro Road in High Point and bought an 'Extreme Millions' scratch-off ticket, returning home to watch Thursday Night Football.
“I would scratch a number and then look back at the game,” Hukill explained. “I wasn’t really paying attention. But that sure did change.”
When Hukill realized he was a winner, he called out to his wife, lottery officials said.
“I walked over to the stairs and yelled, ‘Hey honey, you might want to come down here,’” Hukill said, recalling the moment.
Gage instinctively ran downstairs thinking something was wrong.
“My first initial thought was the kids,” Gage said, a high school English teacher. “But it wasn’t the kids! He showed me this ticket and I just thought, ‘No way. Things like this just don’t happen to ordinary people like us.’”
Putting the lucky ticket on the nightstand, the Hukills tried to sleep through the night.
“I think I slept with one eye open,” said Hukill. “Because I knew I had won, I just knew it.”
Excited and nervous, they woke up at 5:00 a.m. and drove to the high school where Gage works so she could finish lesson plans for the day. They then headed to Raleigh, lucky ticket in hand.
“The whole ride down I kept telling him to prepare because it might not be real,” said Gage. “I can’t believe I was such a Debbie Doubter!”
Hukill had the choice of taking a $10 million annuity that has 20 payments of $500,000 a year or a lump sum of $6 million. Hukill chose the lump sum and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $4,170,069. He plans on using the money to help his two kids pay for college and pay off his wife’s student loan debt.
“My wife went back to school at 42 to be a high school teacher,” Hukill said. “Education is important in our household. So once we get that settled, then we will think about what to do next.”
Extreme Millions launched in December 2016 with four $10 million prizes, and 22 $1 million prizes. Three top prizes and 13 $1 million prizes remain to be claimed. Players can also enter their tickets for a chance to win $1 million in a second-chance drawing.