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Local residents take home lottery winnings

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Three area residents are finding a good use for their lottery winnings by investing in their significant others.

Ellenwood resident Donna Echols recently won $1 million playing the Georgia Lottery instant game Extreme Green, Georgia Lottery officials said.

Echols, who bought her ticket April 5, joins her millionaire friend Patricia Taylor, who won the $5 million top prize playing the Georgia Lottery's 15th Anniversary Millionaire Extravaganza in December 2008.

"This is not something that happens every day," said Echols, who purchased her ticket at an Ellenwood BP Food Shop.

She scratched her ticket later the night she bought it, and asked her husband to confirm her winnings.

"I asked my husband to take a look, and he told me I'd won $1 million," she said.

Echols called to share the news with her friend, Taylor, who had collected her Georgia Lottery prize on Dec. 31, 2008.

"We're all very excited," Echols said. She said she and her husband plan to save for their retirement.

Mark Akin, a Locust Grove truck driver, was stunned by his win in the March 26 Fantasy 5 drawing.

The 43-year-old won the $233,352 Fantasy 5 jackpot.

Akin matched two of five winning numbers from a previous Fantasy 5 drawing and won a free Quik Pik ticket at Xpress Food Store in Locust Grove. He played the March 26 drawing and found out about his lottery win when he returned to the store.

"I was numb," Akin said. "I told my wife, and she couldn't believe it."

He and his wife have no immediate plans for their lottery winnings.

Hampton resident Mansoor Syed, 54, plans to give his Cherry Twist instant game winnings to his wife.

The self-employed handyman won $1,500 and $1,000 prizes in February playing other Georgia Lottery instant games, but considers the $30,000 Cherry Twist prize a big win. He purchased the winning ticket at Freeway Chevron in Griffin.

"I was at home when I scratched the ticket, [and] I screamed," Syed said. "I feel great."