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Christmas gift brings at least $2 million ; Lottery ticket wins for jubilant couple

Giving away New York Lottery tickets as stocking stuffers or birthday presents has been a Kinsley family tradition for years.

But this holiday season, David and Diane Kinsley received a Christmas present from their son, Thomas, and his wife, Bridget, that they never will forget -- a winning "Money for Life" lottery ticket worth at least $1 million each for life.

The Lackawanna couple are guaranteed a minimum payout of $2 million.

"I sleep a lot easier at night now," David Kinsley said during Tuesday's check presentation at the Stop N Gas station in Lackawanna, where the ticket was purchased.

A 50-year-old union carpenter for Dommer Construction, David said he plans to retire in nine years.

"Utter and complete shock," his wife, Diane, said of her initial reaction. "It was unbelievable. I didn't think it was real."

"When we realized we won, all we could do was walk around the house in shock," she added.

The Kinsleys also have a daughter, Kayla, 20.

And even though gifting lottery tickets has been a practice for some time, Bridget, the newest member of the family, picked the winning ticket.

Christmas Day started like most other ones for the Kinsleys. Everyone was meeting at the couple's Blasdell home for breakfast and to open gifts.

Thomas, 27, and Bridget, 24, were on their way from church when they stopped at the Stop N Gas on South Park Avenue in Lackawanna to buy the lottery tickets.

Wed last August, the two were celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, and the Kinsleys wanted to include Bridget in the family tradition.

"I walked in and had my $10 in hand, and said I need two $5 tickets," Bridget Kinsley recalled during Tuesday's check presentation.

David Kinsley scratched off his ticket, followed by his wife.

"I had the nonwinning ticket, but my wife scratched off something that would change our lives forever," David Kinsley said.

"Money for Life" is the newest in the state lottery's life-themed tickets. The odds of winning the jackpot on the $5 ticket are one in 5.3 million, with the overall odds of winning any prize one in five.

The Kinsleys claimed their prize Dec. 27 at the lottery's Customer Service Center in Buffalo.

They chose to split the jackpot evenly, with each receiving 20 annual payments of $50,000 -- a net of $33,015 a year each, the lottery's Gretchen Dizer said during Tuesday's check presentation.

If they live past the 20 years, each will receive the $50,000 payment every year for life.

"I'm sure we'll take a few more vacations now, and of course, put some of it towards the children's college funds," Diane Kinsley said. "All I know is this Christmas we bought the big TV we always wanted."

The lottery contributed nearly $2.67 billion in fiscal year 2009-10 to help support education. It accounted for more than 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.

e-mail: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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