Groton lottery winner: real prize is 'the relief that comes with not having any debt'

GROTON, N.Y. – Lee Houghtling, a 26-year-old mechanic from Groton, is taking home $536,058 out of the $1 million prize he won on a lottery scratch-off ticket.

Houghtling has been a lottery player since age 18, according to a news release from the New York Lottery. The winning ticket was among $20 worth of tickets he bought alongside his morning coffee on his way to work one morning.

His boss gave him the okay to leave work early so he could drive to Syracuse and claim his prize.

“I told him I won $1,000,000 on the Lottery and he told me to take as much time as I needed. He was pretty cool about it,” Houghtling laughed.

He opted to take the prize as a lump sum, leaving him with $536,058 after standard withholdings.

Houghtling said he plans to purchase a vehicle for his mother and pay of his own vehicle, but that the real prize “is the relief that comes with not having any debt.”

He told WHCU that he plans to stay in the area and remain at his job as an auto mechanic for a residence for youth and young adults.

Houghtling was presented with a novelty check by the New York Lottery's Yolanda Vega on Wednesday at the Dryden Xtra Mart where he purchased the winning ticket.

(Featured photo courtesy of the New York Lottery)