A Virginia couple has hit five of the six lottery numbers three times
Some people may say matching five of six numbers in the lottery falls short of being lucky. A Bedford County couple would disagree.
Enos and Linda Blankenship of Thaxton, Virginia have had five of six winning numbers in the lottery - three times.
Most recently they matched five of six numbers in the Mega Millions drawing on Feb. 20. The lone winning ticket for the big jackpot - $239 million - hasn't been claimed.
The Blankenships were awarded $124,000 after taxes on the original $175,000.
The Mega Ball number was the one the Blankenships missed.
The numbers the couple have played since the early 1990s are their birth dates and their children's birth dates.
"My birthday didn't hit," Enos Blankenship said.
The winning numbers were 1-13-20-21-30 and the Mega Ball was 24. Blankenship played 16 instead of 24.
He also held five other tickets with four winning numbers apiece that merited $150 each.
"We're still walking just a little above ground," Blankenship said.
Enos Blankenship, 52, is quality assurance manager at SR Draper Paving. Linda Blankenship, 57, is program supervisor of Greenville School, a day care center in Northwest Roanoke.
She is a Bedford native, and the couple have lived in Bedford County since 1984.
Blankenship said he matched five of the six numbers twice in the 1990s, but then he only won $1,189 and $1,000, respectively.
With those winnings he thought he had broken even.
"Now I think I got ahead of the game," he said.
Two of their children cannot believe the news.
"They just kept saying, 'No you didn't, no you didn't,'" he said.
And then they asked to talk to "mom," who Enos Blankenship said is "the more honest one."
He said he always told his children that if he won the lottery he'd be at the lottery office first thing the next morning to "help the guy put the key in the door."
"So I was there when he put the key in the door," he said.
It wasn't until Saturday afternoon that they finally got the winning numbers off the Virginia Lottery Web site.
Blankenship said he asked his wife to read the winning numbers to him. They realized they had five of the lucky numbers. Linda asked him how much money they win with that many matching numbers. He replied $150 to $175, and she said, "That's not bad."
"And then I said 'thousand,'" he said.
Now they will decide what to do with the winnings.
"We kind of daydreamed all day Saturday about bass boats and SUVs. But Saturday night it sunk in that we did win a substantial amount of money."
Then they started to take it more seriously.
"We are only in our 50s but still knocking on the door of 62. We need to figure out how we can retire comfortably," he said.
The couple plan to give their children a portion of the winnings.
Blankenship bought the ticket at Westside Food Mart in Bedford. The convenience store now has a banner out front that says, "We sold a winning $175,000 lottery ticket."
Mega Millions is played in 11 states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m.