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First top prize awarded in Palmetto Cash 5

Columbia, S.C. (February 23, 2005): When Janet Hefton, of Stanley, N.C., says “I’m headed South,” it usually means taking a trip to Blacksburg to buy lottery tickets. But Wednesday, heading South meant a trip to Columbia to claim a $200,000 prize.

Hefton is the first top prize winner in the South Carolina Education Lottery’s new five-digit game, Palmetto Cash 5. She won the $100,000 prize, and because she also spent an extra $1 for the Power-Up multiplier, which was 2, her winnings were doubled. Hefton’s winning ticket was purchased from the Lucky Diamond on E. Cherokee Street in Blacksburg.

“Now, she can just enjoy herself for a while,” said Hefton’s daughter, Teresa Bortzer.

Hefton, a widow who lives with her daughter’s family, had not heard the buzz that a ticket sold in Blacksburg was a winner. She bought a newspaper on her way home from her part-time job Tuesday, and checked three tickets against the numbers when she got home. She could hardly believe her eyes, and called her daughter, who was still at work. “I said, ‘Teresa, I think I hit for $200,000,” Hefton said.

Later that day, Bortzer took her mother to a store to have the clerk validate it. “And she said, ‘Apparently, you won more money than I can give you,’” Bortzer said.

The employees in the store were excited, but it took a while for the win to sink in with Hefton. “I just can’t believe it,” said Hefton, who said the prize is the biggest she’s taken home in her years of playing the lottery in various states.

Hefton said the win is big news for her, but most things in her life will remain the same. She’ll continue to enjoy the company of her adult children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She’ll continue to work part-time. And she’ll continue to enjoy what her daughter calls her mother’s hobby.

“I’ll still keep playing the lottery,” Hefton said. In fact, she planned to stop by a store Wednesday and buy a ticket as she and her daughter headed North.

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