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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WW1949
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WW1949 01/13/07 - 09:49 am
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Enjoy your money but be sure

Enjoy your money but be sure to see an investment advisor and set aside some money each moth in investments to produce income for later. Congrats.

Inkjet
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Inkjet 01/13/07 - 11:39 am
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Speaking of con artists, it's

Speaking of con artists, it's enough to print your name AND age in the article, but I sure wouldn't want my place of employment published along with it. She probably won't have any peace because she will get harassed constantly on her way into and out of the school from the parking lot from people and some sob stories trying to get money from her!

scram
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scram 01/13/07 - 05:13 pm
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People can be so stupid. She

People can be so stupid. She is a grown lady. So what she may have been buying alcohol. She can do what she wants. People always have something to say know matter the situation. Shake the haters off Ms. Atwell!

hgreenjeans
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hgreenjeans 01/13/07 - 06:54 pm
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i live in illinois....but

i live in illinois....but congratulations....to this lady......amen she deserves....it...good things come to those who wait

Chris1982
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Chris1982 01/14/07 - 10:29 pm
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She won it fairly. So what

She won it fairly. So what about her private life and how she spends her money? You don't pay her bills nor feed her, and if she does get some sort of assistance, she fairly pays taxes also. She only probably get a few cents from each of us anyways ( just remember how many pennies we thrown away). If you were less fortunate, you wouldn't mind asking the gov't for some help. Grow up!!! You guys have to much time to judge others how they should live, when you should really look at your situation. We all deserve a chance to have hope and dreams. And to the person that said she would only get a fraction of that 50k, it's more than what she is making. That's what really matters.

Reader07
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Reader07 01/15/07 - 09:20 am
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To the person bashing

To the person bashing Waynesboro, yes we do have low income housing. We also have beautiful homes in nice neighborhoods and average homes. The problems you state are not just in Waynesboro. Not everyone that lives in low income housing is a thug. Some people are there by choice and some are there because you can't pay $500 a month rent when you make $7.00 per hour. Those people are of no less value than you. You may also want to visit the school and see how many kids are there trying to get an education and better themselves. You make it sound like you may live in Waynesboro and if you do, you could always move. Ms. Atwell took a chance on a dream and guess what? It came true! Why are people always there to knock someone when something good happens? It seems we can't be happy for someone else. If she took her last ten dollars to buy the ticket who cares? She didn't ask you for it did she?

CONFUSED1
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CONFUSED1 01/15/07 - 04:54 pm
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if she is drawing welfair or

if she is drawing welfair or some other kind of goverment assistance the money can be taken away for using this money to gamble.have heard of this happing before..GOOD LUCK

sunshine25
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sunshine25 03/12/07 - 10:06 am
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Who said she was receiving

Who said she was receiving welfare? Why can't you people be happy for her! It's about time someone of color and someone who really needed the money won for a change! It was not a mistake she won, she was in the right place at the right time. Congradualtions Ms. Atwell!

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