Retired Army Sgt. Carla Johnson, of Carthage, and her husband plan to renew wedding vows in December and can now use a $100,000 lottery prize to help pay for the ceremony they didn’t get 25 years ago when duty called her to the Persian Gulf.
“At least we know the wedding is paid for in December now and we don’t have to panic,” Johnson said she told her husband after the win. “It was just a blessing.”
Johnson got married to her husband on Dec. 6, 1996. One day later she was deployed to serve in the Persian Gulf as a diesel mechanic. Her husband, who is also retired, served 23 years in the Army.
“We really didn’t have a wedding,-wedding,” Johnson said, “so now 25 years later we’re actually able to have a wedding.”
Johnson’s good luck began Friday when she purchased a $20 Premier Cash scratch-off ticket from the J Cash Mart on Carthage Street in Cameron. However, she decided to wait until 9:30 p.m. to scratch it off. She did not believe at first how much she had won, but after verifying her win at the store the next day she finally realized her good fortune.
“I started to panic, and I just started screaming!” she said.
Johnson claimed her prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required federal and state tax withholdings she took home $70,756. She said she planned to give 10 percent of her prize money to her church and then, after paying for her wedding, set up a college fund for her four grandchildren.
Premier Cash launched in August with four top prizes of $2 million and eight $100,000 prizes. Three top prizes and six $100,000 prizes remain to be won.