winner

Christopher Mills of Winterville won a $100,000 prize in the state lottery’s Winter Winners scratch off game.

A social worker from Winterville said he wants to help pay for his twin sons’ college degrees after a $20 scratch-off ticket turned into a $100,000 win, the N.C. Education Lottery announced Wednesday.

Christopher Mills, a 59-year-old social worker, has worked for the state of North Carolina for 25 years. His sons both are pursuing master’s degrees in business administration from Campbell University and they are on track to graduate next December.

He purchased his Winter Winnings ticket from the Shell Right Way on North Herritage Street in Kinston. After he purchased the ticket, he scratched it in his car. When he saw he won the big prize, he said he had to put his glasses on to double check the ticket.

“I thought, ‘What in the world, this can’t be right,’” Mills said. “It was unbelievable.”

Mills arrived at lottery headquarters on Wednesday to collect his prize. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $70,756.

The Winter Winnings game launched in November with two top prizes of $1 million and two $100,000 prizes. Mills is the first winner of one of the $100,000 prizes. Two $1 million prizes and one $100,000 prize remain to be claimed.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games like Winter Winnings make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $900 million per year for education. For details on how $10.1 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Pitt County in 2020, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.