Marine veteran purchases scratch-off ticket in Wilmington, wins $200,000

RALEIGH (WWAY) — For Mark Bruso, a trip down memory lane of his Marine Corps days led him down the Atlantic Coast to Wilmington and a $200,000 lottery win.

Bruso is from Fitchburg, Mass., and left at the beginning of July. He’s been bicycling down the Atlantic Coast ever since. He’s trying to visit the places he was stationed during his six years in the Marines. His final destination was Florida, but some bad luck led him to Wilmington.

“I broke a spoke on my bike,” Bruso said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever broken a spoke. I was so upset about it.”

While waiting for his bike to get repaired, Bruso stopped at the Speedway on Market Street in Wilmington and bought a $500 Frenzy scratch-off ticket.

“I didn’t win anything,” Bruso said. “So I went to a nearby deli and got a sandwich. When I finished, I made a spur-of-the moment decision to go back and get another ticket. I figured I already got the losing out of me with the last ticket, so the next one must be a winner.”

When Bruso scratched the second $5 ticket, he couldn’t believe it.

“I thought I was seeing things,” Bruso said. “I had to put my glasses on and make sure I was reading it right.”

Bruso claimed his prize Friday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $139,003. He plans to use the money to continue his bicycle tour.

“I’ve been planning this trip for almost four years,” Bruso said. “It’s been the best decision of my life. Next stop is Parris Island where I went to boot camp. Who knows though, after winning this I might ride all the way to Southern California where I was also based.”

$500 Frenzy launched in July with six top prizes of $200,000. Two top prizes remain.

Ticket sales from instant games like $500 Frenzy make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $600 million a year for education. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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