Nov 23, 2005, 10:06 am
Pooling resources can sometimes pay off in a big way — just ask the 14 co-workers at United Plastics Corp. in Mount Airy, North Carolina, who won $250,000 in the Nov. 15 Mega Millions drawing by matching five of six numbers.
The group — machinists, production workers and some of their supervisors — picked up a check yesterday from the Virginia Lottery. Each will get about $13,000 after taxes, money they say will be used to pay off bills, take long-awaited vacations and make Christmas morning extra nice for their families.
"It's been jubilation on everybody's part," said Larry Conner, a supervisor from Ararat, who has worked 25 years at the plant.
When the Mega Millions jackpot swelled to $250 million earlier this month, Conner suggested to his co-worker Murphy Jones of Cana, Va., that they should get some people together and buy tickets.
Each of the 14 chipped in $5 for a total of $70, and bought 70 "easy pick" tickets for Nov. 10. They did it again for Nov. 15.
Jones was in charge of buying the tickets, and after the Nov. 15 drawing, he began comparing the tickets to the winning numbers.
He confirmed the numbers with lottery officials before telling his fellow workers.
About 2 p.m. Thursday, the news hit the plant floor. The co-workers had matched every winning number — 2, 4, 5, 40, 48 — except the Mega Ball (7), which meant a cash prize of $250,000.
"Not a bad investment," Conner said. "It's a blessing from God."
"We had one guy in the group, his wife passed away one year ago this Thanksgiving. He made the statement he would be able to pay off funeral expenses and be able to buy her a headstone.... A lot of the young guys who have families — it's going to be a good Christmas," Conner said.