A nurse from North Carolina who has been helping patients throughout the coronavirus pandemic has just received a well-earned reward.
Terri Watkins of Durham, North Carolina, recently took home the $1 million prize after her entry was picked from over 513,000 submissions in the North Carolina Education Lottery's Supreme Riches second-chance drawing.
Winners of the drawing are typically called or emailed to be notified about their prize, the group said on their website.
"I thought that it was a scam. I was a little upset actually!" Watkins told the lottery. "I thought that it was not real, couldn't be real. It's still something that I really don't believe, I'm still in some shock here."
Watkins said she works as a nurse in the COVID unit at a long-term care facility and has experienced so much since the pandemic started early last year.
"Just seeing some of the things that I've had to see, I am very thankful," she said. "I had been praying for something to help me with this situation. It really is a great thing. I'm very blessed."
According to the lottery, Watkins chose to take home the lump sum of her winnings instead of receiving 20 $50,000 yearly payments. In the end, she received $424,500 after required state and federal tax withholdings.
"I'm just gonna take it slow and easy and figure out what I'm gonna do," said Watkins. "I would love a new home, but I've just got to take time and put it in the right place."
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According to a New York Times database, North Carolina has experienced upwards of 638,000 cases since the start of the pandemic, and more than 22.7 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus across the United States as of Tuesday afternoon. More than 379,000 people in the U.S. have died from the virus so far, the outlet added.
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