Couple who are still rebuilding after Fort McMurray wildfire wins $1M lottery prize
A Fort McMurray man, who bought a winning Lotto 649 ticket while visiting his ailing father in Newfoundland, says he and his wife plan to use their $1 million prize to finish rebuilding their home after the 2016 wildfire.
Bill Pendergast said he woke up at his aunt’s house earlier this month to chatter about the winning $1-million ticket in Goulds, a rural neighbourhood in St. John’s.
“Dad called and asked me to stop on my way back to the hospital and pick him up a cold 7 Up,” Pendergast is quoted as saying in a news release issued by the Atlantic Lottery last week. “I stopped at Irving in Goulds and also purchased a Lotto 649 ticket.
“My aunt asked if I had bought a ticket, and I remembered I did,” he added. “I went straight to the Irving and checked it.”
It turns out Pendergast was indeed holding the winning ticket from the Feb. 3 Guaranteed Prize draw.
“I called my wife Carrie in Fort McMurray and she booked a flight immediately,” Pendergast said. “This is all like a dream.”
Pendergast, who is originally from Newfoundland, has been rebuilding their home in Fort McMurray ever since the devastating wildfire that prompted a mass evacuation of the community nearly two years ago. The 50-year-old millwright says the money will help complete the rebuild and to refurnish their home.
He also said he plans to take his family on a vacation to somewhere warm. Pendergast and his wife have two sons and are expecting their first grandchild in spring.
Pendergast said they still have to decide what to do with the rest of the money but that he expects he’ll be able to retire sooner than he originally planned and that he also has something he’d like to get for himself.
“I have always wanted a Mustang, and I will finally have one,” he said. “I’m 100 per cent sure of that.”
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