Natchez man hits it big!

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2001

NATCHEZ – Since 1991, Fred Fuller has crossed the bridge into Louisiana to purchase Powerball and Lotto tickets.

&uot;I buy tickets every Wednesday and Thursday,&uot; Fuller said Thursday. &uot;I even bought some yesterday.&uot;

Not that he needed them.

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For nine days, officials with the Louisiana Lottery Foundation have waited to see who purchased the winning Lotto ticket valued at more than $1.43 million from U-Pak in Vidalia on Dec. 19.

On Wednesday, they found out it was Fuller.

&uot;I wasn’t nervous until I called them and told them that I had the ticket and wanted to claim my prize. Then I got nervous,&uot; Fuller said.

Oddly enough, Fuller did not find out that he had won the prize until Saturday, three days after he bought the ticket.

&uot;I went to work and some guys were saying that they read in the paper that the winning ticket had been bought in Vidalia. I told them I had the ticket. But I was just joking,&uot; Fuller said.

Nonetheless, Fuller couldn’t help but be excited when he went home.

&uot;I grabbed the ticket and started checking the numbers,&uot; he said. &uot;When I saw I won, I said ‘Merry Christmas to me!’&uot;

Fuller was originally upset with the Lotto ticket purchase.

&uot;I had asked the clerk for Powerball tickets. But I’m glad she made the mistake,&uot; Fuller laughed.

Fuller has no immediate big plans for his new-found wealth. He said he will pay off debts, give some money to his family and then invest the rest.

&uot;I plan to buy a few acres of land and build a house. I also want to buy a Ford Expedition and hit the road to see the country!&uot;

But he does not see his life changing drastically.

&uot;I’ll still wear the same clothes, do the same things and have the same friends,&uot; he said.

In addition to calling football and basketball games for area high schools, the Natchez native has spent more than 26 years working at International Paper.

Well, maybe some things will change. He said he will retire soon from IP.