Merritt’s Mitch and Florence Wilkinson were playing for the big prize, but they still feel like big winners after they matched all seven numbers in the Maxmillions draw to split and win $500,000 from the Lotto Max draw held on Jan. 3.
“We bought a few more tickets than normal because we knew the jackpot was $70 million,” says Mitch, who bought the winning ticket at Black’s Pharmacy in Merritt. “Even with $500,000 we were still shaking holding the big cheque!”
The Wilkinsons were one of 30 Maxmillions winners from the Jan. 3 draw, splitting the $1 million prize with a winner from Ontario.
2020 marks the 31st winter that Mitch has worked plowing snow on the Coquihalla Highway. Though he’s not quitting the job—which he loves to do—just yet, he admits that the lottery win makes early retirement look more attractive.
“It’s been a real challenge on the Coquihalla over the years, keeping the roads clear and drivers safe,” he said. “Even though it’s tough, I still enjoy doing what I do.”
The couple—who have lived in Merritt for most of their lives—will be putting the majority of their winnings in savings. However, some of it will be earmarked for home renovations and early retirement.