As a 30-year Army veteran, Howard Smack knows when to follow his gut.

It's that military-driven intuition that led him to recently buy three $5 Mega Millions/Powerball scratch-off tickets. That move led to winning the $200,000 top prize. 

Smack, who spent 30 years with Ft. Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division, said something was telling him to go for it. 

“I just had that feeling and I went for it,” Smack said. “I couldn’t believe it when I won. I may have screamed, just a little bit, I was so excited.”  

Smack bought the tickets from the Southgate on West Ehringhaus Street in Elizabeth City. He claimed his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After taxes, he took home $141,501. He plans to save the money to prepare for the future. 

“When you’ve served in the military as long as I have, you always have a short-term and a long-term plan," Smack said. "This couldn’t come at a better time. Last year was a rough one. My father finally got a kidney after being on dialysis for years, so I’ve had to be there for him. This is such a blessing.”

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Smack won the last of the scratch-off ticket's four top prizes.  

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