Independence week ends with a bang as Voorheesville man wins $5 million on scratch-off

VORHEESVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York Lottery has announced a winner for a $5 million scratch-off ticket.

The lucky guy is being identified as 60-year-old Dana Graffunder of Voorheesville. The new Lottery millionaire is Albany County’s second of the year. He says the check represents a level of financial freedom that he never expected to achieve.

Graffunder retired from his job as a warehouse receiver soon after his wife, Leslie, gifted him with a top-prize winning Set For Life scratch-off ticket. Leslie Graffunder quickly followed suit; retiring from the skilled nursing facility where she worked the overnight shift.

Leslie said after purchasing the ticket and scratching it outside the Stewart’s Shop on South Main St. in Voorheesville, she looked at it quickly and threw it in her purse to re-check later.

“I always re-check my tickets,” she said. “The second time I looked at it, I noticed a match on the number 26 so I started to scratch off the prize and saw the letter L as in LIFE. Then, I started to scratch a little faster.”

Dana, who admits to playing the Lottery “only when the jackpot gets really big,” said he learned of his wife’s plan to gift him with a scratch-off ticket worth $5 million as he lay sick in bed, at home.

“She called me and just kept repeating herself saying, ‘Oh, my God. Oh my God,’ over and over again,” he said. “She always told me she was going to win a big one, and she finally did.”

Leslie said the trick to winning is never straying from your strategy. “Never take the first ticket or the last ticket on a roll,” she said. Her husband agreed, saying “I think it’s a great strategy. You certainly can’t argue with it now!”

Dana Graffunder chose to receive his prize in a single lump sum payment totaling $4,172,112. The Graffunders agree that the win will change their life for the better.

Dana said, “We both expected to be working until we dropped. This will let us pay off bills and help our son get out from under as well.”

Leslie echoed her husband’s comments adding, “No gems, baubles, furs; nothing like that for me.  We’ve been talking about buying a house by the ocean for the past 20 years. We just want to be by the ocean, that’s all.”

The New York Lottery contributed more than $42,561,880 in Lottery Aid To Education to school districts throughout Albany County during fiscal year 2015-2016.

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