COLUMBUS, Ohio – Abbey Bugenske, 22, was driving to her parents’ home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, to look at a used car when she got a call from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
Bugenske, who moved to the Cincinnati, Ohio area earlier this year for an engineering job with GE Aviation, had forgotten the state’s Vax-a-Million drawing. At first it looked like a prank.
But when she arrived at her parents’ house, Bugenske had the answer.
“I was screaming enough that my parents thought I was crying and something was wrong. When I started screaming that I had won $ 1 million and was going to be a millionaire, they told me to calm down and make sure I wasn’t. A prank before I really start to panic, ”Bugenske said. “I still can’t believe it. It was a crazy night.
The recent Michigan State University graduate studying for a master’s degree in aerospace engineering has no plans to quit her new job.
“I love GE. I love the people I work with, ”said Bugenske, who plans to donate some of his earnings to charity and invest the money. She might even still buy this used car.
“I think buying a used car is always in my future,” she said.
Joseph Costello wins the Vax-a-Million scholarship
Joseph Costello, 14, and his siblings were enjoying their first day of summer off Wednesday. Her father, Rich Costello, promised a surprise when they returned to their Englewood, Ohio, house after group of youngsters.
“On the way home, I told him, ‘That’s great news, but no questions, just look out the window,’ said Rich Costello.
Joseph was greeted by members of the governor’s office who told the teenager that he had won a full college scholarship. DeWine and his wife Fran showed up later, greeting the neighbors at an impromptu block party.
Joseph doesn’t know what he wants to study yet, but he’s interested in attending Ohio State University or Miami University, DeWine’s alma mater.
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Did Vax-a-Million urge them to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Bugenske received its Moderna COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the $ 1 million price announcement. She signed up for her first dose as soon as it became available to people under the age of 40 in Ohio.
But she still thinks the incentive is a “great idea.”
“I would encourage anyone to get vaccinated. If winning $ 1 million isn’t enough of an incentive, I don’t really know what it means,” she said.
Joseph’s parents, Rich and Colleen, were vaccinated before the Vax-a-Million Prize was announced and were planning to have their children vaccinated before the end of May. They increased their schedule so that they could grab the chance to get a college scholarship.
“It definitely influenced our decision to get it on time,” said Colleen Costello.
Related: Who won a million dollars in Ohio’s first Vax-a-Million cartoon?
More Vax-a-Million winners to come
The Ohio Lottery held the draw on Monday in Cleveland and the winners were announced Wednesday night, giving state officials time to verify that the two met the eligibility rules and had received at least their first hit of COVID-19.
DeWine announced on May 12 that Ohio would use federal stimulus money to pay five million dollar prizes and five college scholarships to rekindle interest in COVID-19 vaccinations.
USA TODAY network subscribers:Ohio sees 40% increase in COVID-19 shots after Vax-a-Million lottery announcement
Early data suggests it worked. About 2.75 million went into the drawing. The number of first doses given to people aged 16 and over in Ohio increased by 40% in the week after DeWine announced vaccine donations, according to a USA Today Network Ohio analysis of immunization data from the ‘State.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also eased mask requirements for those vaccinated, another incentive to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Four more drawings will take place in the coming weeks, with four adults winning $ 1 million each and four children aged 12 to 17 winning a college scholarship.