‘A whirlwind’: Shaker Heights graduate wins first Vax-a-Millions

Ohio Vaccine Lottery

CLEVELAND (WJW)– Abbigail Bugenske said it’s a Wednesday night she’ll never forget.

Bugenske, 22, of Silverton, is the first winner of the Ohio Vax-a-Million lottery.

She was driving to her parents’ house in the Cleveland area when she got the call from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine telling her she’d won a $1 million. It was a bit chaotic when she reached their home.

“I was screaming enough that my parents thought that I was crying and something was wrong,” Bugenske said. She said they told her to make sure it wasn’t a prank. Then she started getting the notifications on her phone. That’s when she knew it was real.

“A whirlwind, it has absolutely not processed yet,” she said. “I like to say that it feels like it’s happening to a different person, I cannot believe it.”

Bugenske is visiting her parents to buy a used car and said that’s still the plan despite her winnings. She said she will donate some of the prize and will invest most of it.

Bugenske is a graduate of Shaker Heights High School and a mechanical engineer at GE Aviation. She just graduated from Michigan State last year and is working on her master’s in aerospace engineering.

She was already vaccinated before the Vax-a-Millions was announced. She said she got her Moderna shot during the first week she was eligible.

“I originally got vaccinated just to protect friends, family, relatives, anyone that I was going to come into contact with and the Vax-a-Million was an easy decision to sign up for,” she said.

Joseph Costello, 14, was the first winner of the four-year, full-ride scholarship.

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