Deana Herkel has 44,000 reasons to smile.
The 33-year-old graphics designer from Thomson recently won $44,000 playing 4's Galore, a Georgia Lottery instant game, according to a press release.
Mrs. Herkel purchased the winning ticket at the Sprint convenience store in Thomson, where she stopped for gas before heading off to work.
"After I bought my gas, I scratched the ticket and said to myself 'something is wrong,' " she said. "I had to look three or four times. Then, I started crying."
She showed the ticket to her mother and husband, Scott, who were "shocked and speechless."
Mrs. Herkel has three children and plans to pay bills and save some of her winnings for the holidays.
"This feeling is just unbelievable," she said. "It feels great to have extra money."
The win is the second by a local resident in recent months. Annette Lott won $146,115 in a Fantasy 5 drawing in early April.