When players from Western Maryland, the Eastern Shore or the state’s southern counties visit Lottery Headquarters in Baltimore to claim big cash prizes they’ve traveled as much as 100 or 150 miles to get here. Darlene Adkins laughs at that measly 150 mile trip – she just completed a 6,000 mile odyssey to claim a $250,000 Mega Millions prize.
Darlene arrived at the claim center yesterday with a Mega Millions winner that Lottery officials have been wondering about for months, since February to be exact. She bought her ticket at the Olympic News Stand at BWI on her way out of the country. “I rarely play, I just had a feeling so the last thing I did before getting on the plane was get a ticket,” she told officials. Darlene is a teacher in the Middle East and, as lottery websites are not available in the country where she works, it wasn’t until well after the February 15th drawing that she realized that she’d won. “When I found out, I couldn’t believe it, what a blessing.”
She kept her winning Mega Millions ticket with her passport and made plans to come home to claim as soon as she could fit it in to her school schedule. “It took two months, and it was tough to wait because I wanted to confirm it – I really didn’t completely believe it was true.” She’ll be back on a plane this week, but Darlene has plenty to occupy her mind on the long flight. This win will be the second-biggest event of 2011 for her – she will be getting married later this year. “This will help us get off to a really good start.”