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June 21, 2012

Methuen woman hits $10M scratch ticket

METHUEN — METHUEN — A 78-year-old woman who worked for congressmen and the Lawrence police and fire departments just hit the big time.

Helen Giarrusso hit the $10 million jackpot from a $10,000,000 Diamond Millionaire scratch ticket she bought from Rite Aid for $20.

According to the Massachusetts Lottery, she picked up her prize Tuesday.

“I don’t know what millions are,” she said yesterday. “But it feels good because I can take care of my family.”

Giarrusso worked as a secretary for two congressmen, F. Brad Morse and Paul Cronin, both Republicans. Afterward, she worked for the Lawrence Fire Department as a dispatcher and for the Lawrence Police Department.

Her late husband was a Lawrence firefighter, a son just retired from the Lawrence Fire Department, and a grandson works for the Methuen Fire Department. In all, she has two children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She bought the ticket at Rite Aid at 176 Haverhill St. in Methuen. The store will also get a $50,000 commission on the jackpot.

“Giarrusso is the second player to claim a $10 million grand prize since the $10,000,000 Diamond Millionaire ticket debuted in September 2011,” said Beth Bresnahan, a spokesperson for the Lottery. “There are two more $10 million prizes remaining in the game. The odds of winning one of them are one in 5,544,000.”

She chose to take her prize as a lump sum of $6.5 million before taxes, Bresnahan said, and planned to put it in a trust. By law, the Lottery withholds 5 percent for Massachusetts taxes and 25 percent for federal taxes.

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Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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