December 2, 2021

Lotto winner from Homer has options for $105M

Retirement, trip, plane...

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

New York Lottery spokeswoman Yolanda Vega introduces Wayne Harris, right, of Homer, as the newest Mega Millionaire on Thursday at the Mirabito convenience store in Preble.

Wayne Harris of Homer plans to quit his job at Lockheed Martin in Owego. Maybe he’ll take a vacation somewhere warm. Or buy an airplane for himself. The 58-year-old may even retire early.

“It’s never too early to retire,” Harris said Thursday. Many possibilities await the newest New York Lottery Mega Millions winner.

Harris, an electrical engineer who lives with his father, was the sole Sept. 22 Mega Millions winner. The amount won was $105 million.

Lottery spokeswoman Yolanda Vega made the announcement at the Mirabito Convenience Store on Route 281 in Preble, where Harris bought the winning ticket. He decided to receive his winnings in a lump sum totaling about $66 million, which comes out to $44 million after tax withholdings.

Harris was driving along Route 281 to Syracuse to do some errands on Sept. 22 when he decided to stop by the store to buy a lottery ticket. A regular Mega Millions player, he usually buys his tickets on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The winning numbers were 05-39-54-63-66 with the Mega Ball number 15. He bought five lines of numbers; the fifth won.

Harris said he based his choices on the history of the lottery, where if the middle three numbers were called recently, he plays them. The numbers did not have any special meaning.

Harris said he woke up the following morning to check the numbers online, still half asleep when he read the numbers. After realizing he won and telling his father, Roger, Harris put the winning ticket in a safe deposit box.

Harris then went to the lottery office in Syracuse the following Monday to claim his prize and had since been waiting for Thursday’s announcement. He said he did not feel any different being a lottery winner, but looking at the amount in his bank account may change him later on.

Samantha Hooper of Homer, the cashier who sold Harris the winning ticket, never thought she would sell a winning ticket. The store receives $10,000 for selling the winning ticket. Hooper said it is cool knowing she sold it.

“I sell a lot of tickets a day,” Hooper said. “Especially now that there’s a winner here, I see so many different faces.