CLIVE, Iowa - A western Iowa man said he felt an immense sense of relief after scratching off a $30,000 lottery prize.
"Me and my girlfriend are kind of starting fresh with COVID and everything being so hard to maintain," said Andrew Yanak on Monday as he claimed his prize at the lottery's Storm Lake regional office. "This is a huge relief for us. This is going to be huge for us."
The 29-year-old from Onawa, Iowa won a top prize in the Iowa Lottery's "Bonus Crossword" scratch game. He purchased his winning ticket at Pony Express, 1501 330th St. in Sloan.
Yanak, who works in construction, said he initially thought he'd won $30. He kept scratching and then started celebrating, thinking he'd won $100. It wasn't until he scanned the ticket with the Iowa Lottery's mobile app that he realized his prize was much bigger.
"It said $30,000 and I'm like, 'No! That's not - that's fake,'" he said. "I checked it again and it said $30,000. I didn't really freak out. I just kind of started crying and shaking a whole bunch."
Just to be sure, he took the ticket to a nearby gas station, and a store employee confirmed the win on the store's lottery terminal. He plans to use part of his winnings to pay bills and purchase a car.
"There are so many things we have been working toward to try to do," said Yanak.