Vet wins $1 million after 25-year Army stint

A U.S. Army veteran won $1 million on a Georgia Lottery scratch-off ticket five months after leaving the military, the state lottery announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the jackpot for Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing is an estimated $208 million, the lottery said. The jackpot has grown since Dec. 29 and has rolled over 10 times.

An oversized check was presented to Alexander Rivera, 44, of Hinesville in southeast Georgia. He won with a Georgia Lottery Black ticket he purchased at a Parker’s store in the Liberty County town.

Rivera said he bought the ticket while on the way to pick up his son from school. “I was waiting in the parking lot for my son when I scratched it, and there it was. I couldn’t believe it,” Rivera told lottery officials as he picked up his check Tuesday.

Rivera, a father of two, left the Army after 25 years of service. His $1 million prize will be paid in 20 annual payments of $50,000 each. The odds of winning the top prize in the Georgia Lottery Black game are 1 in 2.4 million.

The odds of winning tonight’s Powerball jackpot, however, are about 1 in 175 million. The drawing is at 11 p.m. and Powerball offers two payment options: the $208 million jackpot prize paid over 29 years in 30 graduated payments, or the cash option, which is about $130 million.