The Big Thaw: Kentucky Woman, Living in Camper Home, Pockets $100,000 Second-Chance Top Prize


This is a story that warmed my heart.

Gayle Geary started her day by looking out the window of her 12×8 camper home parked in a frozen field in Eastview, Kentucky.

She saw the beginnings of a house she and her husband started building two years ago.

A few hours later, her phone rang “ and Gayle learned she’d won $100,000 in a Kentucky Lottery Ultimate Second Chance promotion.

Geary had purchased a non-winning Triple Platinum ticket awhile back, and she knew of the program where some non-winning tickets can be entered for a chance to win the game’s top prize. I spend a lot of time on the computer, and it’s easy to enter, so I thought I’d give it a shot, she said.

The 53-year-old had kept up with the program during past drawings, but on this day she had forgotten a drawing was to take place.

I thought to myself that no one ever really wins these things, so even though I entered I figured there was no way anything like this would ever happen to me, Gayle said.

However, when she heard a message on her phone from staff at the Kentucky Lottery, she raced to her computer to see if there was a drawing that had just taken place. I saw the news about the Triple Platinum drawing, and I knew that had to be why they were calling, she said. A quick return call back to the lottery gave her the good news, but now Gayle had a challenge ahead of her “ she had to find the ticket she entered for the drawing.

The camper’s small, but it seemed like it took forever for me to find the ticket, Gayle laughed.

She was so nervous the first time she spoke with lottery employees that she wrote down an incorrect ID number for the ticket and feared for a moment she didn’t have it. When I finally realized I’d found it I just started screaming, she said. It finally sunk in I’d won this thing.

Her truck was frozen in mud from recent winter storms, so she called her son to bring her to Louisville to claim the prize. The next order of business was to tell her husband the big news, but she had to be careful.

Richard (Gayle’s husband) is an over-the-road driver who delivers high explosives to mines, she said. I was scared to death to call him when I knew he was hauling a load, because he was up in the hills of West Virginia and I didn’t want anything to happen to him when he got the news.

She decided to wait until he returned home at the end of the week to tell him about the big win, but the excitement was too much for her to contain.

I finally went ahead and called him after we left lottery headquarters because I knew he’d dropped off all the explosives by then, she said. Richard didn’t believe her however when he got the news. My son finally had to text him a picture of me holding the big four-foot-long check, Gayle laughed. Richard immediately called back and told me to get to the bank!

Gayle and Richard moved to the land they bought in Eastview (outside of Elizabethtown) several years ago. The first helped a relative build a home, and then two years ago they started working on their own. Each time we got paid we’d throw some money into it whenever we could, Gayle said.

We have the foundation and the floor down, but when the winter arrived we decided to wait until spring to start doing some of the work on the walls.

Her plan now? I’m ordering lumber, getting together a crew, and the whole house will be framed next week, she said excitedly.

I won’t be spending another winter in that camper, she said with a crack in her voice.

Amen, sister.

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Married to a beautiful (and extremely intelligent--- smarter than I am) South African woman. One child (brilliant). I've written three books, only one now available. Editor in chief of magazines...former managing editor .... news reporter, magazine writer, joker, sometimes a fool, lottery expert, lover of old, classic movies, music fanatic, Science Fiction fan (Warhammer 40,000, Game of Thrones). Goal for next year: Walk the Camino de Santiago. Into metaphysics, Esther Hicks (Abraham), Louise Hay


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