MILLERSBURG — Upon receiving the news that she had won $5 million from the Ohio Lottery, Millersburg’s Brenda Simpson thought someone was pulling her leg.
"I was in total disbelief," Simpson said. "This is not true. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s still sinking in."
But she is ready for the fabulous life after she won $5 million in the Fabulous Fortune Top Prize Drawing on Aug. 29.
Simpson’s prize was the result of a second chance drawing from a winning Fabulous Fortune ticket she purchased on Nov. 4, 2016, at Rodhe’s IGA. Hers was one of 14 tickets in the second-chance drawing for the prize, according to lottery officials in Millersburg for the presentation of the award.
Fabulous Fortune is a $20 Ohio Lottery scratch-off with a $5 million annuity top prize paid as $250,000 a year for 20 years. Simpson can choose that or a lump sum cash payment of $2.5 million before tax withholdings. She has 60 days to make that decision.
Simpson found three TPD symbols on the ticket she purchased on Nov. 4, 2016, from Rodhe’s IGA, located at 2105 Glen Drive in Millersburg. She won $5,500 and an entry into the Top Prize Drawing.
Fabulous Fortune provided a second chance for players to win the game’s top prize once all the game’s instant-win top prizes were won. She held one of 14 entries in the drawing conducted Aug. 29, 2019.
Rodhe’s also received a $10,000 bonus check for selling the winning ticket.
Simpson said she plans to pay some bills. She also plans to pay off her home and maybe buy a house for her daughter.
Her co-workers had one question: "I told the people I work with and they asked if I was coming to work tomorrow. I still plan to work, but I told my husband he can retire," Simpson said.
Simpson’s husband, Charles "T-bone" Simpson, said when he heard the news, he just burst out crying, dropped to his knees and thanked his lord and savior Jesus Christ.
"She had never won nothing her entire life, and she’s worked so hard all these years as a Head Start teacher," T-bone said. "I took my glasses off and just busted out in tears. I got down on my knees and said, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ That’s exactly what I did.
"This couldn’t have happened at a better time," he tearfully added. "I’m very happy for both of us. We’ll be able to take good care of the people who took care of us in a time of need. I want to thank all my friends. I love you all very much."
Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald said it is a great honor to present the checks that can be life-changers for the winners.
"This is the first check of this amount I’ve given as the new director under Gov. DeWine," McDonald said. "It is very special to be able to make that call to the winning family and letting them know they have been chosen. It was actually exciting to come here and meet them face to face, along with their family.
"It was also great to see all these employees and the business owner of this independent grocery store," McDonald added. "It was thrilling to be able to give back to those people who contribute to the lottery, and who have been loyal players for years."