Grandfather gifts lottery win to granddaughter so she can attend UNCW

(Source: N.C. Education Lottery)
(Source: N.C. Education Lottery)
Updated: Apr. 25, 2019 at 4:34 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) - Kelly Thomas will soon be attending the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and thanks to her grandfather and a winning lottery ticket, she won’t have to worry about any school-related expenses.

Peter Beckage, 85, who recently moved to Clemmons, NC to be closer to his family, said Lucky for Life is one of his go-to lottery games. Following a pancake breakfast with his granddaughter on April 14, he purchased a Lucky for Life ticket from Carlton’s Hampton Road Grocery in Clemmons.

Beckage stayed up late the following Monday night to check the drawing.

“When I got all five [white balls], I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I had a hard time getting back to sleep I was so excited.”

Beckage had just won $25,000 a year for life. He texted his daughter about his win and what he planned to do with the prize. They then waited together for Thomas to come home from volunteering.

“Kelly, how would you like to have $25,000 a year for the rest of your life?” said Beckage as he greeted his granddaughter.

“Oh my gosh Grandpa, did you win the lottery?” said Thomas.

Thomas and her grandfather claimed her prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Wednesday. Winners are guaranteed $25,000 a year for life and have the option of taking a lump sum of $390,000.

Thomas chose the annuity and received her first annual payment. After federal and state tax withholdings, she took home $17,688.

She plans to use her grandfather’s gift to pay for tuition, books and food at UNCW as she studies to become an elementary school teacher.

“To be able to focus on something I’m passionate about thanks to my grandpa is an amazing gift,” said Thomas. “I’ve always dreamed of being a Catholic school teacher and helping people. This money makes it possible for me.”

“I knew if I ever won anything big, I would share it,” said Beckage. “I’m happy with the little wins, and I’m so happy this is a gift I can give to her.”

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