Salem man wins $1M playing Mega Millions

Garland Hare, Virginia Mega Millions winner
Garland Hare, Virginia Mega Millions winner(Virginia Lottery)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 11:05 AM EST
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - A Salem man won $1 million playing Mega Millions, but didn’t realize it until he was on a trip overseas.

Garland Hare bought a ticket for the November 1 drawing, then left the country before discovering he’d matched the first five winning numbers to win $1 million.

“It was very unexpected!” he told Virginia Lottery officials.

The winning numbers were 5-9-15-16-17, and the Mega Ball number... the one he didn’t match... was 25. He selected his numbers using a combination of family birthdays and anniversaries, according to Virginia Lottery.

He bought the ticket at Salem Mini Mart, on West Main Street in Salem. The store receives a $10,000 bonus from the Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

The ticket was one of just seven nationwide to win the $1 million prize, according to Virginia Lottery. Had he matched all six numbers, he would have won the $87 million jackpot for that drawing.

Hare who works in computer programming, and said he intends to pay bills with his winnings and do some more traveling.

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday nights at 11 p.m. The odds of matching the first five numbers in Mega Millions are 1 in 12,607,306. The odds of matching all six numbers to win the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

All Virginia Lottery profits go to K-12 education in Virginia. Hare lives in Salem, which received more than $2.6 million in Lottery funds for K-12 education last fiscal year.