On Tuesday, Dennis Nagle of Wilmington tried his luck on a $5 ticket and struck gold with a $250,000 top prize.

Nagle, a retired car salesman, stopped at the Gas Center on Market Street in Wilmington and purchased a few scratch-offs, including two $5 $250,000 Gold Rush tickets.

He scratched the tickets right outside the store and couldn’t believe his eyes when he uncovered his prize. “I came back in,” he recalled, “and said, ‘Is this for real?’ and the clerk said, ‘Yes!’”

The first thought after realizing he had won?

“What I could do with the money,” recalled Nagle. “Which would be something good. I’m not gonna go buy a new car, I’m gonna help some people.”

Nagle claimed his prize Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $176,876.

“Gotta spread the wealth,” said Nagle. “If I can do something for somebody, I’m going to.”

The $250,000 Gold Rush game launched this month with five top prizes of $250,000. Three top prizes remain to be won.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $725 million per year for education. For details on how $11 million raised by the lottery made a difference in New Hanover County in 2019, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.