Grandfather gives granddaughter a prize that will last a lifetime

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 2, 2019

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RALEIGH – Kelly Thomas, 22, of Clemmons, got the gift of a lifetime — $25,000 a year for life, for the rest of her life — from her grandfather Peter Beckage after he bought a winning Lucky for Life ticket.

Beckage, 85, who recently moved in with his daughter to be close to family, says Lucky for Life is one of his go-to games. He bought the winning ticket at Carlton’s Hampton Road Grocery in Clemmons on April 14, after a Palm Sunday breakfast of pancakes with his granddaughter.

“I knew if I ever won anything big, I would share it,” said Beckage. “I’m happy with the little wins, and I’m so happy this is a gift I can give to her.”

Thomas, who will soon be attending UNC-Wilmington, plans to use her grandfather’s gift to pay for tuition, books and food as she studies to become an elementary school teacher.

“To be able to focus on something I’m passionate about thanks to my grandpa is an amazing gift,” Thomas said. “I’ve always dreamed of being a Catholic school teacher and helping people. This money makes it possible for me.”

Beckage stayed up late Monday night to check the drawing. “When I got all five, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I had a hard time getting back to sleep I was so excited.”

The next morning at church, Beckage couldn’t focus on his prayers. He texted his daughter about his win and what he planned to do with the prize. They then waited together for his granddaughter to come home from volunteering.

“Kelly, how would you like to have $25,000 a year for the rest of your life?” said Beckage as he greeted his granddaughter.

“Oh my gosh Grandpa, did you win the lottery?” Thomas asked.

Thomas and her grandfather claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Wednesday. Winners are guaranteed $25,000 a year for life and have the option of taking a lump sum of $390,000. Thomas chose the annuity and received her first annual payment. After federal and state tax withholdings, she took home $17,688.

Lucky for Life has 10 ways to win a prize playing the game. This winning ticket beat the odds of one to 1.8 million to match all five white balls and win $25,000 A Year for Life. The top prize is $1,000 A Day for Life.

Ticket sales from games like Lucky for Life made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $650 million a year for education. To learn how $9.6 million in lottery funds made a difference in Davidson County last year, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.