Jackpot winner

Kenneth Launius of Camden has won the $420,000 Natural State Jackpot operated by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

A Camden man claimed on Wednesday a lottery prize worth $420,000 at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Claim Center.

Kenneth Launius purchased the winning $1 Natural State Jackpot ticket at Sparky Food Mart located at 504 West Main St. in Sparkman for the October 16 drawing.

The winning numbers were 9, 17, 20, 33, and 39.

Launius’ wife, Amy, went to the lottery’s website to check the winning numbers after the drawing was held Friday night. She discovered that the jackpot amount had re-started at $50,000 and immediately told her husband, “Somebody got it!”

Launius had bought three Quick Pick NSJ tickets earlier that day.

“I tried to buy some tickets the day before but couldn’t because the machine wasn’t working,” he told lottery officials. “I called Sparky’s the next day to see if the machine was operating, so I could stop by to purchase some tickets for Friday’s drawing.”

Launius was able to make his purchase and traveled home to spend time with his family. When Amy told him the news that someone had won the jackpot, he began to check his tickets.

“This can’t be real,” was Launius’ first thought when he realized he had a winning ticket. “I couldn’t wrap my head around it, so I asked one of my daughters to double-check the numbers.

Launius’ daughter, a lottery-scholarship recipient, started to cry while comparing the winning numbers to her father’s ticket. She didn’t say anything, but everyone knew what was behind those tears.

“My family began crying and hugging each other,” he said. “I have two other daughters, and we’ve been praying for financial relief. I’m always working on the road, but I want to be home more to spend quality time with my family.”

Launius is a truck driver and plans to pay off debt with his winnings. He also wants to purchase a swimming pool.

“This is my chance to start a new life,” Launius says with a smile. “We purchased our house ten years ago. Now, we can finally pay it off and get the swimming pool that we’ve always wanted.”

The Natural State Jackpot is at $70,000 for tonight’s drawing.

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