2010-09-29 14:33:39.027

Wappapello Man Wins $50,000 A Year For Life

Story Photo audio icon It’s not the top prize on the new Missouri Lottery Scratchers ticket “$200,000 A Year For Life,” but a Wappapello man has become the first player to claim a prize of $1 million or more in the game.  William Douglas, 53, will collect a yearly payment for as long as he lives.  The second-level prize in the game pays $50,000 a year for life, guaranteed for at least 20 years. 
Douglas bought the $20 ticket after working the late shift at the Briggs & Stratton plant.  He scratched the ticket in the parking lot of John’s Mini Mart, 664 Highway 142 in Poplar Bluff, and discovered the life-changing prize, but he didn’t tell anyone right away.  In fact, he didn’t even share the news with his wife, Sherry, until he got some sleep.  
“I scratched it outside in my car and just laughed when I scratched it,” recalled Douglas.  “I thought about it all the way home, and then she got a little upset because I didn’t wake her up and tell her.”   
“He didn’t come in and say, ‘Woo hoo.’ Nothing!” added Sherry. 
Instead Douglas took a shower and went to bed.  He shared the good news the following afternoon, but it took a few days for it to sink in with his wife and children.  His casual attitude might stem from being familiar with winning.  The regular Lottery player has won prizes of $5,000, $10,000 and even a trip to Las Vegas previously.
“He’s been up here several times,” said his family in unison while claiming the ticket at Lottery headquarters in Jefferson City on Sept. 24. 
Douglas said he’s a lucky person, even though the family has been through some rough spots.  They relocated to the Poplar Bluff area two years ago after the Briggs & Stratton plant closed in Rolla.  They waited to buy a house to make sure things were going to work out there, but recently they purchased property on Lake Wappapello. 
“Felt like we’ve been that way (lucky) ever since we bought our new place out on the lake,” he said. 
Douglas waited more than a week to claim his ticket, as they were set to visit his two children, William II and Rianna, in the area.  Just a day before leaving, he finally stopped into John’s Mini Mart to share the good news. 
“I was on my way to work and I saw the owner’s truck over there.  I thought ‘I’m going to go in and tell him.’ Well, he wasn’t there.  He had gone somewhere and left his truck there,” recounted Douglas. 
“I went back out and my car would not start.  Deader than a doorknob.  Anyway, I had to walk to work, which is about a quarter-of-a-mile to a half-mile, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, I just won $1 million and I’m walking!”
The family joked that plans might include a new truck.  Beyond that, the Douglas’ said they would pay off all their bills with the first installment, and then plan for the following year.  Douglas said he’d continue working “unless they make me mad.”
“I feel a lot less pressure,” he said.  “I was wanting to retire in about eight years.  Now I know I can!” 
The first and second prizes in the “$200,000 A Year for Life” Scratchers game can be taken as annuity or as a lump sum.  Instead of $750,000, Douglas chose the annuity. 
“Well, I’m going to live to be 90, so this is going to cost you, too,” he joked.
“$200,000 A Year For Life” is a $20 Scratchers game that officially began Aug. 28.  The game features two prizes of $200,000 a year for life and six prizes of $50,000 a year for life.  Winners can choose a lump sum based on a 20-year payout, or receive annuity payments for as long as they live.  This is the first lifetime prize to be claimed in the game. 

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