Harnett County Woman Felt Overwhelmed By ‘Surreal’ $200,000 Win

(Left to right) Linda Benefiel and her partner Joe Carrier. NCEL Photo

RALEIGH – Linda Benefiel of Fuquay Varina said she will never forget the feeling of winning a $200,000 scratch-off prize.

“It was surreal and just overwhelming,” Benefiel said. “We’re still in awe.”

Benefiel said she got home from work Monday night after a long and stressful day and a Lightning 7’s scratch-off was waiting for her.

“My honey bought it for me,” Benefiel said. “He said for some reason that one stood out to him.”

Her partner bought the lucky $5 ticket from Chalybeate Store on U.S. 401 North in Fuquay Varina. Benefiel said that once she started scratching and saw how much she won, she yelled at him to come look.

“He got so excited and said, ‘We won $200?’” she recalled. “I told him, ‘No, we won $200,000. Next thing I know we were both crying.”

Benefiel arrived at lottery headquarters Wednesday to claim her prize and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $142,501.

“We decided we are going to pay off our mortgage,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful feeling.”

The Lightning 7’s game debuted in June with six $200,000 top prizes. Three $200,000 prizes remain to be claimed.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise $2.8 million a day on average for education. Harnett County received a $10 million state grant, with money raised by the lottery, to help build a new elementary school.