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North Bend couple wins $55 million

Sommay Rattanakone and his wife Xia both had a feeling they may be holding the winning ticket for the $55 million dollar Mega Millions drawing from Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The couple from North Bend purchased their Mega Millions ticket at the North Bend Safeway store and picked up a winning numbers report to confirm what their gut told them, that they were the winners of the second largest jackpot ever won in Washington State.

52-year-old Sommay returned home from work with the winning numbers report the day after the drawing, but wanted to take a nap before checking the numbers. Xia had another idea, she couldn't wait.

"I heard her scream, 'We won,'" Sommay said; naptime was over. The couple spent the next few hours in disbelief talking about their big win.

"I couldn't sleep," Xia said. "I woke up at 4 a.m. the next morning. We couldn't believe it. I prayed for this. It is a dream come true."

The couple turned in their winning ticket at the Lottery's Seattle office Monday, Oct. 23, 2006.

The windfall means the couple can retire early. Sommay works for Seattle Public Schools as a bi-lingual instructional assistant and Xia is temporarily employed by Nintendo. The couple plans to donate to an orphanage that has special meaning for them.

"We plan on helping the Catholic orphanage in Laos. It was where Xia was raised before she was adopted and brought to the United States," Sommay said. The couple also plans to travel to Laos where Xia will search for her family history.

"I don't know my parents. That is my wish to find them," she said tearfully.

The couple also plans to buy a new home, car and to put aside money for their two children's college education.

The record jackpot won in Washington was a $93 million Mega Millions Jackpot won by Dick Warren of Hoquiam in November 2002.

The largest Snoqualmie Valley winner was Michael Kolisch, who won $6.9 million playing Lotto at Milk Barn Grocery and Deli, 9075 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie, in November 2005.

In addition to the people holding the winning ticket, the store that sold the ticket is also a winner. For selling a jackpot winning ticket the store will receive a $50,000 bonus from Washington's Lottery.

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