Millionaire plans to keep serving lunch to students

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Burke County High School students going through the lunch line are having their chow served up by a millionaire.

Georgia Lottery district manager John Hodor (from left) presents a check to Daisy Atwell outside the Bi-Rite in Hephzibah where she bought her ticket. Also celebrating are her son, Arthur Griffin, and her sister Gloria Warren.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Georgia Lottery district manager John Hodor (from left) presents a check to Daisy Atwell outside the Bi-Rite in Hephzibah where she bought her ticket. Also celebrating are her son, Arthur Griffin, and her sister Gloria Warren.

Daisy Mae Atwell, 46, a food service worker since 1999, won $1 million last week scratching off a $300 Million Gold Rush ticket.

Until then, she said, she had been living paycheck to paycheck, scraping by on $700 per month. She lives in an apartment in Waynesboro, shared by her daughter and two grandchildren.

On the night of Jan. 4, she and her 27-year-old son, Arthur Griffin, were cruising around south Augusta in her Oldsmobile Royale. Mr. Griffin coyly explained that Burke County doesn't allow stores to sell liquor, so he had to cross into Richmond County.

"I wasn't getting liquor, though," Ms. Atwell said.

They stopped at the Bi-Rite store on Mike Padgett Highway, just north of the Burke County line. Ms. Atwell bought a $10 lotto ticket and scratched it off in the car. She matched two 12s, and the prize below said "$1MILL."

"I didn't believe it," she said. "I told him to look at it."

Mr. Griffin said he took the ticket back into the store, and a cashier confirmed they had a winner.

Ms. Atwell said she plans to keep working at the high school, albeit with less stress in her life. She wants to buy a house for her family and a new car.

The way she sees it, she's getting a massive pay raise, courtesy of the Georgia Lottery. She'll receive annual payments of $50,000 for the next 20 years, a lottery official said Thursday.

Accepting her oversized, $1 million check outside the Bi-Rite store, Ms. Atwell was reserved, but beaming, as the cameras snapped.

"Give us that look you had when you scratched it off," Georgia Lottery sales representative Toni Rautenberg said.

"OK," Ms. Atwell said, then she closed her eyes and pretended to go limp.

Since the $300 Million Gold Rush game started a year ago, 13 people in Georgia have won $1 million and eight people have won $2.5 million. Before it's over, seven more people will win $1 million and two more will win $2.5 million, according to the Georgia Lottery Corp. Lottery profits pay for educational programs such as the HOPE scholarship and the state's Pre-K program.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (38) Add comment
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DWGRIFFINSR
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DWGRIFFINSR 01/12/07 - 08:55 am
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Congratulations to Ms Atwell,

Congratulations to Ms Atwell, however buying a $10.00 lottery ticket when you admit to just scraping by on $700.00 per month is not playing responsible. Two adults and two children can not live on $700.00 per month. You must be receiving assistance from other sources. I am hopeful that you will use the $50,000 per year to improve your familys life, and if possible repay some of those sources. Also watch out for the con artist.

Edward1968
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Edward1968 01/12/07 - 09:07 am
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You made your point whodunit!

You made your point whodunit! However, you should think first. Do you know for a fact that the daughter does not contribute to the household income???

tombee
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tombee 01/12/07 - 09:09 am
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Driving to Augusta on a

Driving to Augusta on a Thursday night to help your son buy liquor and you end up winning the lottery by spending two hours of your wages on a snowball's chance of winning. What a heart warming decision.

butterflygina
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butterflygina 01/12/07 - 09:12 am
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To whodunit. Did anyone ever

To whodunit. Did anyone ever say that her daughter was not working? It's about time a poor person (without the SUV, without the house either paid for, without the money in the bank, etc, etc) wins. Why does she have to be receiving assistance from other sources? Maybe because she is self-sufficient is the reason she is scraping by. The $10 tickets could be a luxury for her. And believe me if you had to live on $700 you would make a way. Your lifestyle may not be the same as someone living off of $7000 a month. That's what makes different people.

Fort GordonGA
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Fort GordonGA 01/12/07 - 10:05 am
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We as people are so quick to

We as people are so quick to judge. It doesn't matter why she was in Augusta, if it was to buy liquor, well, good, because GOD doesn't make mistake, he put her at the right place at the right time. It's about time someone who really needs the money win. Now she have the tool to get the American Dream. Owning her own home and buy a new car. Honey, enjoy yourself and congradulations to you, your daughter, your son and your grandchildren. May GOD keep on blessing you.

Ms Spouse of a SOLDIER at Fort Gordon, GA

flaggingit
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flaggingit 01/12/07 - 10:41 am
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There are plenty of people

There are plenty of people that are able to barely get by on below the poverty level incomes without getting state assistance. Don't be so judgemental. Be happy for this lady. We may not always look out for each other but GOD does. Congratulations to the winner. Now you have the tool to help you and yours get further.

DWGRIFFINSR
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DWGRIFFINSR 01/12/07 - 11:21 am
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She said her daughter and two

She said her daughter and two grandchildren were living with her. If her daughter is working surely there would be more than $700.00 a month to scrape by on. Any one who can be self-sufficient and live on $700.00 a month. better get a patent from the goverment, and bottle and sell that recipe. They can become wealthy very quickly. Cheers

babydoll1
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babydoll1 01/12/07 - 11:57 am
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To whodunit: Have you ever

To whodunit: Have you ever thought that her income alone is $700. Also if that is the way she is use to living then sure she can do it, some families make it off less than that. Maybe you have never had to do it and if it ever came a time you cold not do it. But she won it and it is up to her what she does with her money. And even if the 4 of them ate living off of the $700 month that is their business and if she is getting assistance she is still working so the government is not totally taking care of her. Did you not read the part that says she has been working the same job since 1999? Its not your money so do worry about it and you are not the one that has been taking care of her. Since she bought the ticket off of her salary it is still her money to do what ever she chooses to do with her with and she had ever right to take her sone to the liquor store she did not ask you for any gas money.

idmanrspk
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idmanrspk 01/12/07 - 12:12 pm
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Whodunit, sounds to me that

Whodunit, sounds to me that you may be just a tad bit jealous. (Uhh!!). If one of you family members stated to the lottery that they were living pay check to pay check and this was a dream come true to them - would you write in to express your opinion- believe me I'm sure you do have family members that fit that description or perhaps it could be YOU.

Truckguy
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Truckguy 01/12/07 - 12:41 pm
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Congratulations, Ms. Atwell.

Congratulations, Ms. Atwell. The lottery gives you and your family a new lease on life. That is exactly what it was designed to do. I pray that you can find a better paying job. May God Bless You.

think08
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think08 01/12/07 - 12:46 pm
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Don't rain on this lady's

Don't rain on this lady's parade. I love to see people that are less fortunate, living from paycheck to paycheck win! They are the one's who deserve it. Alot of times it's the people that are well off and can afford to buy hundreds of dollars worth of tickets at one time that usually win. May she and her family live happily ever after.

jdcooper
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jdcooper 01/12/07 - 01:12 pm
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Congratulations Ms. Atwell-

Congratulations Ms. Atwell- Don't let these snobs ruin your day!!

not2bedisclosed
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not2bedisclosed 01/12/07 - 02:18 pm
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To whodunit, you stated "Any

To whodunit, you stated "Any one who can be self-sufficient and live on $700.00 a month. better get a patent from the goverment, and bottle and sell that recipe" Well, sorry to disappoint you....the government has already done it and labeled it "social security benefits". The easiest thing in the world to do is condemn that which we don't understand. There is no humility in living modest. Congratulations Ms. Atwell! All the best to you and yours on your new found wealth.

justmyopn
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justmyopn 01/12/07 - 03:18 pm
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n/a

gods blessings
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gods blessings 01/12/07 - 04:47 pm
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n/a

EdithPiaf
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EdithPiaf 01/12/07 - 05:22 pm
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WAH WAH WAAAAAH !!! Geez!

WAH WAH WAAAAAH !!! Geez! SOMEBODY just had to start crying about her "wasting her money when she didn't make that much" or "probably being on some kind of assistance" blah blah blah!

SO WHAT!! You are just mad because it wasn't you LOL

CONGRATS Ms Atwell!! Have fun and waste some more money if you want to! It's YOURS!

imjustsaying
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imjustsaying 01/12/07 - 05:24 pm
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i agree forget them haters

i agree forget them haters ms. atwell. the point is that yall got it and they dont regardless of who scratched the ticket they just mad because they were a day late and a dollar short.

yetta28
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yetta28 01/12/07 - 06:20 pm
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congratulations to Miss

congratulations to Miss Atwell of Waynesboro. I would'nt pay any of those hatters any attention because they are only jeolous. Have fun spending your money, and please what ever you do be safe.

tremayne
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tremayne 01/12/07 - 07:25 pm
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n/a

reeves1
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reeves1 01/12/07 - 07:50 pm
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We know that there are jerks

We know that there are jerks out there of a certain persuasion.Ms
Atwell tell them they can kiss your grits!

dottie42
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dottie42 01/12/07 - 08:03 pm
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congratulations miss atwell

congratulations miss atwell to you and your family god bless you

DWGRIFFINSR
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DWGRIFFINSR 01/12/07 - 09:49 pm
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This is a comment,from a

This is a comment,from a comment.Ms Atwell was in the right place @ the right time.Maybe the man upstairs seen this lady needed something good,real good to come into her life.I just hope that she will take this special offering that has been given to her and do the wise and right thing.Starting with settting up a full paid college fund for daughters girls.You here so many storys of people who deserve to win,and thoses who do not.Make the right decision,be wise in your thoughts.I do not want to see your name in the paper under the bankruptcies section.............God bless you and yours

devaughny
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devaughny 01/12/07 - 11:55 pm
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I dont care if you rub the

I dont care if you rub the the ticket off with a beer bottle top that u got from the store... You won the money and god bless you...

tombee
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tombee 01/13/07 - 12:36 am
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It is not 50K per year, it is

It is not 50K per year, it is 36K after State takes their share. The actual value is about 250,000 and many opt for lump sum. After she buys a decent house and a few irrestible items, nice car, etc, won't be a whole lot left over. She better keep working after all. Ain't the lottery a great deal. Especially for those all those 700 a monthers who lost that made up the pot for this lady. Why not just choose somebody deserving and by golly give them the money.

DWGRIFFINSR
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DWGRIFFINSR 01/13/07 - 01:11 am
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Hello, Iam about to post one

Hello, Iam about to post one last opinion, If you do not agree with it, then as R B over at the station states TOUGH! You people who do not agree with me have every right to do so, However please check your spelling and grammar , before you submit your comment. Small Websters Dictionarys cost less than $10.00 Now Iam going to make a comment about the state of Waynesboro Georgia. It is a great town, but it looks as if it is going to become a rundown bedroom community, for the goverment. It is almost surounded by low income or no income housing. If you do not believe me read the TRUE CITIZEN on line The POLICE DEPT has constant trouble with some of the occupants of these dwellings, or come down to Waynesboro on a school day and see how many school age kids are hanging out. Well I will close for now. until next time CHEERS AND HAVE A BLESSED DAY>

vister
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vister 01/13/07 - 01:21 am
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birddog, your last two

birddog, your last two sentences does not make sense.

MyOpinion1
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MyOpinion1 01/13/07 - 03:57 am
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whodunit-you are just upset

whodunit-you are just upset that you did not win. Please don't be jealous. Ms. Atwell CONGRADULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MyOpinion1
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MyOpinion1 01/13/07 - 04:14 am
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whodunit what does the city

whodunit what does the city of waynesboro, low income housing or no income housing have anything to do with Ms. Atwell winning the lottery. Nothing at all. Just be happy for her. She won!!!!! Isn't that great!!! Don't hate on her because she went to a store and scratched off a $10.00 million dollar ticket. But, anyway, Ms. Atwell CONGRADULATIONS ON YOUR WINNINGS MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU!!!

augboi4life
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augboi4life 01/13/07 - 05:38 am
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CONGRATS, consider it a

CONGRATS, consider it a blessing and I see some are more focused on your living conditions rather than being happy for you. Thats life huh. all in all congrats to you and your family.!!!!!!!!!!

tyrone jenkins
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tyrone jenkins 01/13/07 - 10:17 am
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Who wants to bet me that the

Who wants to bet me that the first $50,000 check is GONE already?

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