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Hart County man celebrates $471K on Independence Day

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ATLANTA – One Hart County man is celebrating his birthday with a bang since winning a prize from the Georgia Lottery on Independence Day. Ernest “Zeno” Thomas Jr. of Hartwell was one of two players from the July 4 Fantasy 5 drawing to match all five numbers each winning a $471,522 jackpot prize.

Thomas celebrated his 46th birthday July 6. He claimed his prize recently at the Georgia Lottery District Office in Duluth.

“I still can’t believe it,” said the stunned father of five. “I really don’t know what to say except for ‘Yay!’”

Thomas purchased a Fantasy 5 Quik Pik while purchasing a Powerball ticket.

“I saw how large the Fantasy 5 jackpot had grown,” he said. “I bought a ticket, and I told the clerk and my wife that I was going to win.”

Royal Food Store #0004, 5338 Lavonia Highway in Lavonia, sold the lucky ticket.

Winning numbers from the July 4 Fantasy 5 drawing were: 9-22-25-30-35.

Chakeena Cooper of Stockbridge also won the July 4 jackpot prize. Mobil Food Mart, 3441 Mt. Zion Road in Stockbridge, sold the winning ticket.

Thomas and his wife, Serena, have five children, ages 23, 19, 18, 16 and 4. He also has one grandchild, age 3.

According to Thomas, the couple was making sandwiches when they discovered they’d won.

“We both had a crying moment there for a little while,” he shared.

Having worked 30 years in outside sales and quality control for a concrete company, the lucky lottery winner considers himself grateful.

He anticipates paying off his home mortgage and providing his children with money.

“This is wonderful. Other than my wife and kids, this is the best thing ever to happen to me,” Thomas exclaimed. “It feels wonderful. It feels great.”

Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $13.4 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.4 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1.1 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.

For more information on the Georgia Lottery Corp., please visit:

www.galottery.com and www.lotterybenefitsgeorgians.com

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Kimberly Starks
Media Relations Manager

P 404.215.5062
F 404.215.8983
media [at] galottery [dot] org

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