Navy corpsman bought 27 lottery tickets, won 26 times. He just won his biggest in NC

Navy corpsman Michael Strong has won a cash prize with 26 of the 27 lottery scratch-off game tickets he’s bought for $20 each over the years.

He just won his biggest prize with a ticket he purchased in the NC Education Lottery: $1 million, officials said.

Strong bought the $150 Million Cash Explosion ticket on Wednesday at the Scotchman on South Wilmington Street in Richlands, according to a lottery news release.

Richlands is a town of about 1,500 people in Onslow County, just north of Jacksonville on the N.C. coast.

Strong has been stationed all over the world and is currently in Waianae, Hawaii. He won the prize when he was back home in Richlands to do some work on his home, lottery officials said.

“I decided to play this game because $20 tickets are my lucky tickets,” Strong told lottery officials when he claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Thursday. “I always win when I play them.”

He beat odds of 1 in 1.8 million with his latest win, according to the lottery website.

“My friends were joking with me about my luck,” he said, according to the lottery release. “They said I should buy a ticket since I was back in town. So I took a break from the fence I was building, bought a ticket, and won $1 million!”

Choosing between an annuity with 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a $600,000 lump sum, Strong chose the lump sum. After tax withholdings, he took home $424,506, officials said.

Strong told lottery officials that he will invest the money and pay off bills.

The $150 Million Cash Explosion game began in October with four top prizes of $4 million each and six $1 million prizes. Two $4 million prizes and three $1 million prizes remain to be claimed, according to the lottery.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.