Retirement just got a whole lot more golden for Alert Bay’s George Speck.Speck, 64, is the winner of a $3.5- million prize from the March 19 Lotto 6/49 draw. Speck travelled to the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) office in Vancouver last Tuesday to claim his prize.In an interview via telephone from Vancouver, Speck said he bought the winning ticket from the Alert Bay Drug Store “on a whim”.
He explained he is not a regular ticket buyer, nor does he have sets of numbers he plays. “I just play quick pick, and I’m notorious for having these things sit in my wallet,” he said. “I didn’t even check my tickets until the following Wednesday,” he said.
Speck was in bed, on Facebook “to see what my friends are up to” and an old friend was asking her brother if he had checked his ticket, because someone in Alert Bay had won the lottery. Speck grabbed his wallet and checked his ticket “and six numbers came up.”
Not sure what that meant, Speck asked his cousin, who was visiting, to look at the ticket. The cousin told him he had a winning ticket. “I phoned my wife (Bethany) shortly after that,” he said, explaining that Bethany, who was working away on a fishing boat, was already in bed. He joked that “she was a little annoyed that I called her”.
Speck said the couple’s phone conversation included lots of “oh my God’s and what does this means”, interspersed with periods of shocked silences as the enormity of the life-altering victory set in. Even though he verified his winning ticket numbers on line, “I kept checking it all night long. I didn’t get any sleep.” The only immediate plans Speck has for the money is to buy himself a new hunting truck. “We’re going to have to do some planning and my kids will be receiving some of this money that’s for sure,” he said.
George and Bethany have five children: a 12 year old that lives at home; a 21 year old that lives down the street; another daughter that lives in Campbell River who is a social worker; a son who is a red seal plumber that lives in Vancouver; and another daughter who is a consultant in Vancouver.
As for fun plans for the funds, Speck says the couple has friends that live full time in Hawaii they might visit and one of their daughters is getting married in May in Las Vegas. In the meantime, he laughed he will “put my garden in, do some milling and meditate.”
Speck used to be the senior administrator for the Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay. “I’m in retirement now, but I have not activated my pension yet,” he said, adding that working around a reduced income has been a topic of household discussion. “This money changes that. It gives us a lot more breathing space going into the future and we’re trying to approach this in a very rationale way looking at the next 20 or 30 years. “
The reality has still not sunk in for the North Island’s new millionaires. “It’s pretty surreal. That’s when it is going to strike me, when I get home.”