April 5, 2012

‘Wow!’: Rocky Face man wins $1 million in lottery

Rachel Brown

DALTON — Paul Dabrowa still can’t believe he just won $1 million.

The Rocky Face resident said he’s played the Georgia Lottery for years but never won anything of this magnitude. The 66-year-old retired carpet design director bought the winning ticket at the Favorite Market at 2809 Chattanooga Road in Rocky Face on March 24. The winning numbers for the Fantasy 5 Quik Pik were 6-19-26-30-32.

Dabrowa said he’s been buying lottery tickets weekly and letting his wife, Ester, check the numbers to see if any won. He said his wife woke him up early on a Sunday morning, yelling at him to tell him he had won.

“It felt really early to me anyhow,” he said, “and then when it sank in, it was like, ‘Wow.’”

Dabrowa said he plans to pay off his credit cards and other bills and consult with his wife on how to spend the rest. Kimberly Starks, a lottery spokeswoman, said state and federal taxes on the winnings will be 31 percent, leaving Dabrowa with somewhere around $700,000.

It’s significantly lower than his check for $1,063,928, but still no small amount.

With two grown children and three grandkids, Dabrowa told lottery officials he has everything he needs.

“I’m sure my wife will do something with it,” he said. “I might go out and hit a beach somewhere and take in the sun.”

Originally from England, Dabrowa said he moved to the United States in 1982 for a job that eventually led to him living several places throughout the Southeast. He’s been coming to the Favorite Market in Rocky Face for some time now for doughnuts, the newspaper and, of course, lottery tickets.

Store manager Angel Lessis said she “still gets chills” thinking about the fact she sold a winning $1 million lottery ticket. Both Lessis and Dabrowa said they’d been given four-leaf clovers not long before the win.

“Wow!” Dabrowa said as Starks presented him with an oversized check at the store Wednesday afternoon. “I’m definitely going to enjoy this.”