Easthampton’s David Czarnik wins $1 million prize on scratch ticket for the second time
David A. Czarnik of Easthampton shows off a larger version of his winning ticket and a check for $455,000 Monday at the Massachusetts Lottery headquarters in Braintree. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Lottery. Purchase photo reprints »
EASTHAMPTON — Lightning may not strike the same place twice, or so the saying goes, but the lottery is another story.
Phelps Street resident David A. Czarnik claimed his $1 million prize from a scratch ticket this week, and it’s his second $1 million lottery win. He won $50,000 a year for 20 years on a ticket in October 2008.
“It’s incredible, it’s a miracle,” Czarnik, 54, said when reached at his home Wednesday. “It actually took a few days to sink in. It’s so hard to win once, let alone twice. I thought I was dreaming and I kept waiting to wake up.”
He usually stops by College Highway Variety once a day to buy a few scratch tickets, he said. On Feb. 20, he bought a Massachusetts Lottery “50X the Cash” ticket, but didn’t scratch it until the next morning.
“I was about to leave, but I sat down and scratched it. I couldn’t believe it,” he recalled. “My son was home from school and I looked at him and said, ‘I think I just won $1 million ... again.’ ”
When he claimed his prize Monday at the lottery’s Braintree headquarters, he opted for the one-time payment of $650,000, rather than the other choice of $50,000 a year for 20 years. After the 5 percent state tax and 25 percent federal tax, he received a check for $455,000, said Massachusetts Lottery spokeswoman Beth Bresnahan.
Because he purchased the winning ticket at College Highway Variety at 334 Main St., the store will receive a $10,000 commission on the sale. It got the same commission for selling his winning ticket in 2008, the press release said.
Czarnik, a self-described stay-at-home dad, and his wife, Michelle, have three children, Matthew, 21, Paige, 17, and Joey, 16. So naturally, he said, “they’re asking for cars.”
But he has something a little more educational in mind. “This is definitely going toward paying for the kids to go to college,” he said.
He said he might use some of his winnings to put an addition on the house and to buy his wife a new car. “Then I’m just going to put it away and let it gain interest and use it when we need it,” he said.
Czarnik is also hoping his luck hasn’t run out. He said he will continue playing the lottery “cautiously” to see if he can get big win No. 3.
“I’ll keep playing like I have been, without a doubt,” he said.
According to a press release from the Massachusetts Lottery, the “50X the Cash” ticket is new as of Jan. 6 and Czarnik is only the third person to win the $1 million prize.
A year ago this month, another Easthampton man won a $1 million prize on a scratch ticket he bought at Big E’s Supermarket. Donald Sawin, 51, then a forklift operator, also took the $650,000 lump sum prize and told lottery representatives he planned to buy a new car.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at email@example.com.