COVINGTON - It's a sure bet that Covington Councilwoman Ocie Franklin will have a merry Christmas.
Franklin won $250,000 in Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing by matching the first five winning numbers. She missed winning the $174 million jackpot by just one number - the Mega Ball, which was 27. Franklin's ticket had 25.
But she's plenty happy with her winnings, and still a little in shock.
"I just thank God," she said. "I just took a chance. I said, 'I ain't going to win.' When it happened, I was just shocked. I said 'Oh, what a merry Christmas.'"
Franklin bought three Quik Pik tickets at Pantry Corner, located at 2117 Emory St. N.W. in Covington. She heard there was a winner from Covington, and went back to the store to check her numbers.
"You can't win if you don't take a chance," she said, but added that she's not a regular lottery player.
Franklin said she will use the money to make repairs on her home, pay bills and help her family. She said she'll also buy at least one item for herself, maybe a nice suit to wear to holiday gatherings.
Franklin, who represents Post 3, West Ward, on the Covington City Council, is the second elected official in Georgia to win a $250,000 Mega Millions prize this year. Lawrenceville Mayor Rex Millsaps won in May.
Proceeds from Mega Millions benefit education in Georgia. The Georgia Lottery Corporation has returned more than $10.3 billion to the state since its inception. Funds pay for programs including the HOPE Scholarship and Georgia's Pre-K program. More than 1.1 million students have received HOPE and more than 940,000 4-year-olds have attended the voluntary prekindergarten program.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.