Woman wins $500,000 with scratch-off ticket

August 05, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

SMITHSBURG - "My daughter Cathy always joked every time I bought a lottery ticket that that was her college tuition," Smithsburg resident Nancy Musser-Skeen said.

That investment paid off in a big way Monday when the Maryland Lottery confirmed that Musser-Skeen had won $500,000 in the lottery's Vegas scratch-off game.

"It was a blessing," Musser-Skeen said. "We really needed it."

Among other things, she'll use the money to pay tuition not only for daughter Cathy McDonald, who graduated from high school this year, but for her daughter Patricia McDonald, who graduates next year - and for herself.


Musser-Skeen is a geriatric nursing assistant at Fahrney-Keedy Home in Boonsboro and a recent graduate of Hagerstown Community College.

Musser-Skeen wants to further her nursing education, she said.

"And I'm gonna somehow take a much-needed vacation," Musser-Skeen said.

Disney World?

"I thought about Disney World, but my girls are too old," she said.

Musser-Skeen bought the winning ticket at the AC&T Mart in Smithsburg Sunday night.

"She's a regular," said Judy Harless, an AC&T employee. She buys tickets every week, Harless said - but only one ticket at a time, and usually scratch-offs.

"She's a very nice lady," Harless said. "If we're busy when she comes in, she just stands to the side and waits."

Musser-Skeen also chats with the clerks when time permits, Harless said. "We talk about work, how busy we are, our families. Sometimes she'll have her daughters in the car and she'll say, 'They're sitting out there giving me looks, I know they are.'"

It's been a big year for Musser-Skeen. She graduated from HCC in November, passed her state board certification exam as a geriatric nursing assistant in January and recently became a grandmother to Aiden Musser, son of her son Robert Musser and his wife Kathleen, who live in Martinsburg, W.Va., she said.

"I'm starting over again at 49," she said. "This is really gonna help."

Musser-Skeen said she wasn't sure how she would celebrate; the news was still pretty fresh.

"I haven't told my son yet," she said.

Although taxes will take about 30 percent of her winnings, Musser-Skeen said she's thrilled to be Maryland's newest half-a-millionaire.

"I am so excited," she said. "I just kept saying 'thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus.' I don't know if he really approves of the lottery, but I'm praising him."

Although she's a diligent player, she said she hadn't really expected to be a big winner.

"Never in my life," she said. "You know you dream about it. I said 'now I will be really middle class.'"

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