Abbey Bugenske and Joseph Costello: Meet Ohio’s Vax-a-Million Winners

COLUMBUS – Abbey Bugenske, 22, was driving from Silverton to her parents’ home in Shaker Heights to look at a used car when she received a call from Ohio governor Mike DeWine.

Bugenske, who had moved to the Cincinnati area earlier this year for an engineering job at GE Aviation, had forgotten the state’s Vax-a-million drawing. At first it seemed like a prank.

But when she got to her parents’ house, Bugenske had a good answer.

Vax-a-Million:The Silverton woman wins the first Vax-a-Million lottery worth $ 1 million

“I screamed enough that my parents thought I was crying and something was wrong. When I started screaming that I had won $ 1 million and was going to be a millionaire, they told me to calm down and make sure it was is not so. ” It wasn’t a prank before I really freaked out, “said Bugenske.” I still can’t believe it. It was a crazy night. “

Silverton's Abbey Bugenske won the first Ohio Vax-a-Million drawing for $ 1 million.

The youngest graduate from Michigan State University, who is working on a master’s degree in aerospace engineering, has no plans to quit her new job.

“I love it at GE. I love the people I work with,” said Bugenske, who plans to donate some of her profits to charity and invest the money. She could even buy the used car.

“I think buying a used car is still in my future,” she said.

Joseph Costello wins the Vax-a-Million Scholarship

Joseph Costello, 14, and his siblings enjoyed their first day of summer break on Wednesday. His father, Rich Costello, promised a surprise when they returned to their Englewood home after the youth group.

“On the drive home I said to him, ‘It’s good news, but no questions, just look out the window,” said Rich Costello.

Covid vaccination:What You Need To Know To Get A COVID Vaccine For Your 12-15 Year Old In Ohio

Joseph was greeted by members of the governor’s office who told the teen that he had won a full riding college scholarship. DeWine and his wife Fran later showed up and greeted the neighbors at an impromptu block party.

Joseph doesn’t know what to study yet, but he’s interested in Ohio State University or Miami University, DeWine’s alma mater.

Vax-a-Million:How to sign up for the Ohio vaccination lottery

Has Vax-a-Million asked them to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Bugenske got her Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before the $ 1 million pricing was announced. She signed up for her first dose as soon as it became available to Ohioans under 40.

But she still thinks the incentive is a “great idea”.

“I would encourage everyone to get the vaccine. If winning $ 1 million isn’t incentive enough, I don’t really know what it would be,” she said.

Joseph’s parents, Rich and Colleen, were vaccinated before the Vax-a-Million Prize was announced and planned to have their children vaccinated before the end of May. They’ve moved their schedule up to take advantage of the college scholarship chance.

“It definitely influenced our decision to get it in the time frame we got it,” said Colleen Costello.

More: Who Won a Million Dollars in Ohio’s First Vax-a-Million Draw?

More Vax-a-Million winners will follow

The Ohio Lottery held the drawing in Cleveland on Monday, and the winners were announced Wednesday night, giving state officials time to verify that both were eligible and had received at least their first COVID-19 shot.

DeWine announced May 12 that Ohio would use federal stimulus funds to pay five $ 1 million prizes and five college scholarships to reinvigorate interest in COVID-19 vaccinations.

For subscribers:Ohio sees COVID-19 shots jump 40% after announcing the Vax-a-Million lottery

Early data suggests it worked. About 2.75 million took part in the raffle. The number of first doses given to Ohioans ages 16 and older rose 40% in the week following DeWine’s announcement of the vaccine giveaways. This comes from an analysis of USA Today Network Ohio’s state vaccine data.

During this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also relaxed mask requirements for vaccinated individuals, another incentive to receive the COVID-19 shot.

Four more drawings will be held over the coming weeks, with four adults earning $ 1 million each and four children between the ages of 12 and 17 earning a college scholarship.

Ohioans who entered the first drawing are eligible for the next four. Additional residents who wish to participate can visit or call 833-4-ASK-ODH to register for the drawings. Duplicate entries are removed.

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