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Portal man wins $2.5 million
Grandfather of 27 bought winning lottery ticket at Brooklet store
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    Portal resident Jimmy Coleman Sr. was thirsty, so he stopped one day last week at Clyde’s Market #47 in Brooklet for a Pepsi. When he walked into the store, he was a hard-working roofer with 30 years in the business. When he walked out, he was a millionaire.
    Coleman, who did not answer his cell phone, was in Atlanta Thursday, most likely cashing in the $2.5 million winning Millionaire Jumbo Bucks ticket he purchased along with his cold drink, family members said.
    The scratch-off ticket cost $20.
    Although Coleman, father of nine adult children and grandfather of 27, did not answer his phone Thursday, he told Georgia Lottery officials when he bought the ticket, “I had a feeling that something good was going to happen. I bought it, and I went home.”
    Coleman lives in the Portal area. On Feb. 22, 2008, another Portal area resident, Robert Harris, won a $275 million jackpot from the Mega Millions drawing. Harris was the largest single winner in Georgia Lottery history, said Kimberly M. Starks, media relations specialist with the Georgia Lottery Commission.
    Coleman told lottery officials he plans to purchase and fix up homes. And, “I want to buy a new truck. That’s the only other thing that I want.”
     Caye Behrens, manager of Clyde’s Market #47 in Brooklet, was ecstatic when she learned Thursday of Coleman’s win after the Statesboro Herald called for comment.
    “I’m speechless,” she said.
    Her store sells a great deal of tickets, she said. “We have people buying tickets like there is no tomorrow.” Many dedicated lottery players will spend their cash on higher-priced tickets because “ they say you have to spend money to make money” and they believe the more expensive tickets have a higher return, she said. “They would rather buy the $10 and $20 tickets than the dollar ones.”
    Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corp. has returned more than $11.7 billion to the state of Georgia for education, Starks said.  “All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs, including Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program. More than 1.2 million students have received HOPE, and more than 1 million 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.”
    Coleman’s family members, who would not be identified, said he wishes to keep private about the win.

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