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Couple Hits It Big In Lotto South

Need a good luck charm playing the lottery? Try Randy Cox. He's the store manager at Giant at 5730 Edsall Road, where an Alexandria couple just won Lotto South and the $4.6 million that goes with it. For Cox, this is his second lottery winner while managing a Giant store.

Richard and Delores Szymanski bought two Lotto South tickets for the June 26 drawing at the Edsall Road Giant Food store, The first won five dollars. The second hit for a cool $4.6 million.

Cox, who came to the Edsall Road store just recently, also had a winner at his previous store in Arlington. "That was only a $100,000 win split among six people who had chipped in for the tickets. But, it still amounted to more than pocket change for each," Cox said.

The Szymanskis picked all six numbers for their big payday. They also will receive an added $1 million bonus for purchasing the ticket in Virginia.

"In September, when we joined Lotto South, we still had $4 million in the old Virginia Lotto game. We decided to pay an extra $1 million to the first four winners of the new Lotto South who purchased their ticket in the state. This is the third recipient," said John Hagerty, Virginia Lottery Public Affairs Manager.

The Szymanskis' good fortune occurred just two weeks after celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary. As they related the story at a press conference on June 28, he was making breakfast in their Edsall Road home, just five blocks from the Giant Food where he had been a meat cutter prior to his retirement.

SHE WALKED into the kitchen holding the ticket. "Look at these numbers," Delores requested. "Oh, looks like we matched five numbers," Richard replied. "Look again," she insisted. There was the six winning numbers, 5-13-17-33-44-49. They had hit the jackpot.

Now, they have 60 days to decide if they want their winnings in one lump sum cash option or as a 30-year annuity. Either way they get the extra $1 million immediately, according to Hagerty.

Joining the Szymanskis in their good fortune is the store. "Any Virginia Lottery retailer who sells a winning jackpot ticket receives a $25,000 bonus from the lottery," Hagerty noted.

Virginia is one of just three states participating in Lotto South. The others are Georgia and Kentucky. This places the odds of winning at an average ratio of one in 13 million, according to Hagerty.

All Virginia Lottery profits go to help support public education, grades K through 12. In fiscal year 2001, that support amounted to nearly $330 million, Lottery officials pointed out.