Meet Monroe County's newest lottery winners

Posted at: 11/08/2012 12:28 PM
Updated at: 11/08/2012 5:39 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

A few weeks ago, there were regular Rochesterians and now they are local millionaires.

Two lucky locals struck it big in October and Thursday, they got their hand on the prize money with the New York Lottery presenting them millions of dollars.

You usually hear about winners walking into a store and picking out their winning numbers, but what's different about these two is neither walked into a store. One of the winners was a mail-in subscriber for over a decade and the other was a scratch-off ticket. Either way, these two consider themselves very lucky.

For many of us, winning the lottery would be a dream come true.

Gail Cappella said, “They called and I really didn't believe them at first but it became a reality.”

But for Gail Cappella, winning a $16.5 million jackpot is bittersweet.

Cappella said, “It was a little sad because they were my husband's numbers and he passed away. I just felt he's still taking care of us.”

For the last 16 years, Cappella and her husband have been playing the lottery through a mail in subscription and even after her husband passed away a year ago, she still continued to play.

Cappella said, “The numbers have been the same for 16 years.”

Cappella says she just got lucky and she wasn't the only one. Dorothy and Mert West also took home a big prize. For this couple, playing was simple.

Dorothy and Mert West said. “We decided to buy a ticket. We brought it home and scratched it.”

But this couple says winning a million dollars has been overwhelming.
Dorothy and Mert West said, “It's only been two weeks so it hasn't sunk in at all yet.”

These two winners struck it big just ten days apart and now their lives are sure to never be the same. Still they insist, things will go on as normal.

Dorothy West said, “I'm at the age when I'm getting to retirement. He's retired. I'm going to retire. So it's just going to be something nice to fall back on.”

Both say they don't know what they'll do with the money. Dorothy West says she's always wanted to remodel her bathroom.

Gail Cappella opted to receive her $16.5 million in one lump sum. So she will end up getting a check for $7,699,825. Dorothy West will receive $33,000 a year for the next twenty years.

A lot of the money taken out of those checks goes to the lottery aid in education. It is distributed to several school districts throughout Monroe County. So far, they have contributed more than $157 million during the last fiscal year.