For one of New York State’s newest lottery winners, being handed an oversized check totaling $1 million dollars was just the latest wave in a tide of good fortune.
On the receiving end of the winnings is Kenmore resident Alishea Gainer, 27, who also became engaged in December and recently completed her master’s degree in mental health counseling.
“What a lucky streak,” said high-profile lottery spokeswoman Yolanda Vega as she presented Gainer the ceremonial check Saturday afternoon in Lottery Expo Hall on the Hamburg Fairgrounds, where the Erie County Fair was in full swing.
Brisk sales of scratch-off tickets there paused momentarily as fairgoers turned their attention to Gainer, who graciously accepted the check in a royal-blue party dress as family members stood nearby, smiling.
A substitute teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, Gainer said she plays the lottery about once a month and is “still in shock.”
After his mother accepted the check, Gainer’s son, Cortez Powell, 2, ran up to his mother, stumbling slightly and sending one of his sneakers flying.
Gainer, who purchased the winning New York Gold scratch-off ticket at a Valero gas station in Kenmore, plans to put some of the cash away for Cortez and her daughter, Isys, and also purchase a new car and home. Opting to take the onetime cash payout, she will pocket $556,000.
Her parents, Cheryl and Albert, described their daughter as a diligent student and hard worker.
Cheryl Gainer said the thought of skipping work did not cross her daughter’s mind after she won the $1 million.
“She continued to work,” Cheryl Gainer said. “She told me, ‘I still got to work, Mom.’ ”
After emerging from a closed-door meeting with lottery officials after the news conference, Gainer dabbed tears away from her eyes – admittedly overcome with joy.
Despite the fortune, Gainer believes it’s important to remain humble.
“Money doesn’t last forever,” she said.