Former preschool teacher who was "in a dark place" says he kept believing in himself
By Kate Northrop
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's been a seriously difficult time for a North Carolina man who just recently lost his job as a preschool teacher after 20 years and even more so after losing his father to the coronavirus a month later, but a lottery jackpot win to the tune of $250,000 was the Christmas miracle waiting to happen.
Before he had hit the $250,000 jackpot, Joe Camp of Charlotte had been persevering through a myriad of trying times. After teaching for two decades, he was laid off on September 6. One month later, his father passed away after battling the coronavirus.
"And it put me in a dark place," Camp told the North Carolina Lottery. "But I have a lot of friends and family that just told me to keep sticking in there, keep believing in myself."
On the morning of Christmas Eve, he visited the Coulwood BP on Belhaven Boulevard in Charlotte and made his usual purchase of scratch-off lottery tickets.
"Thursday morning, I went to the store and bought a scratch-off ticket like I usually do," he recalled. "And I bought two tickets. I didn't win on the first one, so I tried the second, and I fell to my knees at the gas pump."
Camp had purchased a "$250,000 Gold Rush" ticket for $5, but he wasn't expecting his luck to turn so suddenly when he won one of the ten possible jackpots worth $250,000. Having claimed the seventh top prize, three remain left in the game that launched in August.
The winner's luck seemed to instantaneously change for the better after winning the jackpot. Not only did he score a top prize from a scratch-off, but he had also just found a new job.
"I just recently got employed at a car dealership auto sales center," he said.
When it comes to using the prize money, Camp says he will be putting his family first.
"What I plan on doing with my winnings is having a future for my daughter," Camp said in a press release. With plans to spend the winnings on his family, he wants to buy himself a home for himself and his daughter and will save up for her education.
He claimed the top prize last Monday at Lottery headquarters in Raleigh, taking home $176,876 after federal and state taxes.
"I want to get a home because I want to set it up for my family, my grandkids" he explained. "I want to have something for us. I never had anything, no one passed anything down, and that's what I want to do."