TICONDEROGA - A routine stop for a cup of coffee turned out to be anything but routine for 47-year-old Michael Vice of Ticonderoga.
Vice picked up a Set for Life instant ticket with his purchase and became Essex County's first Lottery millionaire of 2010.
Vice said he decided to treat himself that day, and what a treat it was. His jackpot win guarantees him a minimum of $5 million.
"I like to buy scratch offs every once in awhile, but very rarely do I buy the $10 tickets," said the self-employed general contractor. "That day I decided to treat myself. I like the Set for Life ticket because as long as I keep living, they'll keep paying."
Vice purchased his $5,000,000 Set for Life winner on Feb. 22 at C & G Petroleum at 69 Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga.
"I scratched the ticket in the car. When I saw the word jackpot I made my girlfriend Heather (Johns) pull the car over because I couldn't believe my eyes," he said. "She convinced me it was the real deal."
Vice is the first Essex County resident to win $5 million in the lottery since it began.
The county has had two previous $1 million winners: Jonathan Donaldson of Bloomingdale in 2005 and Darlene Slattery of Mineville in 1996.
Vice claimed his prize at the Lottery's Customer Service Center in Schenectady. He will receive his prize in 20 annual payments of $260,000 each before taxes to realize his guaranteed minimum payment of $5,000,000. His after-tax payments will total $171,678. After the 20th payment, Vice will continue to receive an annual net check totaling $171,678 a year for the rest of his life.
Asked if he had any advice for other would-be New York Lottery millionaires, Vice said, "Don't give up on the dream. It can really happen."
Vice said he has a few ideas in mind for his newfound wealth.
"In the short term, I'm planning a vacation with my son and definitely cutting back on the hours I work. I'm also going to concentrate on living healthier so I can collect those checks for a long, long time," he joked.
The New York Lottery is North America's largest and most profitable Lottery, earning more than $36.7 billion in education support statewide since its founding over 40 years ago. The Lottery contributed nearly $2.54 billion in fiscal year 2008-09 to help support education in New York State, which was over 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.
The Lottery's ongoing commitment to education also includes the awarding of more than 1,100 Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarships annually to high school students pursuing their higher education in New York State. Since 1999, the Lottery has awarded more than 11,500 scholarships representing a total commitment of almost $50 million.