2012-09-25 11:54:35.617

Lottery Prize Helps Part-Time Pizza Cook Become Full-Time Student

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It only took $2 for a Kirksville man to “crack the code” and pocket a cool $25,000. James Bray won a top prize on a Missouri Lottery “$25,000 Safe Cracker” Scratchers ticket in September.

The 23-year-old pizza cook is about to turn his winnings into a career change. In addition to using his windfall to help his family, he also intends to enroll in emergency medical technician (EMT) courses to pursue his life-long dream of service to others.

When asked to recall the moment he realized he was a winner, he said, “It was really exciting.” Bray and his brother, Doug, were at Dukum Inn, 111 S. Elson St. in Kirksville, when Bray “got bored” and decided to try his luck on a few Missouri Lottery tickets.

“I had a five dollar bill and two one dollar bills, so I decided to play,” he recalled.

After Doug “made sure it was a real ticket,” the duo confirmed the win with a bartender.

Bray called his mother and father next, and said, “Mom, I have something to tell you.”

Bray’s mother, Tammy, said she braced herself for the worst, but she was pleasantly surprised when Bray declared, “I just won $25,000!” 

Tammy and her husband, George, were instructed to “come up here and get it (ticket) right now.” So, that’s just what they did, pajamas and all. Their sons met them in the parking lot.

Tammy summed up the experience by saying, “We never thought it would happen to us!

Bray added that he especially “never thought it would happen to me.”

$25,000 Safe Cracker,” a $2 game with a top prize of $25,000, officially started on May 26.


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