A press conference was held at US Tool in Farmington on Tuesday afternoon for the Missouri Lottery to present 166 employees with the $1 million check after they won the Powerball before Christmas.
Missouri Lottery Communications Manager Susan Goedde thanked everyone who came out for the exciting event.
“Jake’s Express Shop and Deli sold a $1 million Powerball winning ticket and you win that by matching all five white ball numbers,” Goedde explained. “That happened when the jackpot got up to $300 million on Dec. 23.”
Goedde said a couple days before Christmas 166 coworkers at US Tool group had a ticket that matched all these numbers to share the $1 million prize.
“This is an exciting thing and for Terry Jacobson’s, owner of Jake’s Express, part in selling this winning ticket, his store receives a check for $1,000,” said Goedde. “I am presenting him with the check, congratulations.”
Goedde said the people who did really well are the winners at US Tool and they get to share the $1 million prize, which ends up being approximately $6,000 each before taxes.
Peggy Lunsford described what it was like to win. She’s the one who always collects the money, keeps track of who plays each pool and purchases all of the tickets.
“I was at home in my easy chair and I started checking the numbers,” said Lunsford. “I thought we won a million dollars, so I went to my computer and pulled it up where you can type your numbers in to see what you won.”
Lunsford said it told her they won a million dollars and she didn’t know what to do. She explained that she looked online again and read that she should put her team name and a phone number on the back of the ticket and keep it in a safe place.
“I was so nervous,” said Lunsford. “I hid it under the mattress of the bed until Tuesday when I came back to work. We didn’t really have a group meeting to announce it, but we handed out the list and the forms to each department and you could hear everyone cheer.”
US Tool Owner Bruce Williams said he was really excited for everyone.
“They are incredible employees and it is really a blessing that they won this money,” said Williams. “The interesting thing is, if you study the statistics, it’s just as likely they are going to win tomorrow, as they won before.”
US Tool Employee Pam Long said when she found out she couldn’t believe it. She had been playing for years and they have hit small ones and used that money to buy more tickets.
“This is the first time we have ever hit it that big and no one knew because they didn’t tell us until we came back in after the weekend,” said Long. “They kept it a secret and I’m sure it was hard to keep.”
Long said she plans to fix up her house and put in some new flooring. She added this money is something she didn’t expect so she’s using it wisely.
“I’ve never missed a pool for tickets,” said Long. “I even leave money with boss if I’m going to miss work for just in case, so I am in it.”
US Tool Payroll Supervisor Michelle Kemp is not only one of the winners, she is the one who put together all the forms to turn into the Missouri Lottery Office.
“Once we knew, we called the lottery office to see what we should do and she said sign the ticket and keep it in a safe place,” said Kemp. “She said she would be back after New Year’s and to get everyone’s forms. We had to have everybody’s information and we all received our check last Friday.”
“I was very excited when I found out,” said Kemp. “I have been playing for a lot of years and never expected to hit anything big. The buzz around here was big and it was hard for everyone to concentrate the day we came back and found out.”
Jake’s Express Shop and Deli Night Clerk Nikki DeMiere said Lunsford comes in all the time to purchase the tickets and she is so organized with her envelope of money.
“No one has asked her, but she bought $312 worth of Powerball tickets that day,” said DeMiere. “We were so happy to see that it was not just one person winning a bunch of money, but it was a group who won a decent amount each.”
DeMiere said it was great to see all the people who were helped at Christmas time, it was an amazing gift for them. They also started off the New Year with a little bit of money instead of debt.
“Peggy and I cried. She said she couldn’t come in to see me because she couldn’t lie to me,” said DeMiere. “We have really been talking for the last 11 months and it was hard for her to see me and not say anything.”
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org