What started as a way to strengthen office morale has led a team of 14 employees from Cornerstone National Insurance in Columbia to be selected as the Missouri Lottery’s August Team of the Month, as part of the Lottery’s ongoing Captains Club promotion. The team, calling themselves “Cornerstone’s Future Millionaires,” has been playing Powerball together for more than three years.
“We formed about three-and-a-half years ago at the urging of our boss, who was looking for a morale booster,” explained Ben Austene, who serves as the group’s lottery coordinator and team captain. “He suggested playing Powerball as a group. We started small – only about five of us – and have been playing ever since.”
“Cornerstone’s Future Millionaires” are: Kari Schaller of Ashland; June Ivy and Alice Langkop of Boonville; Christina Townsend of Centralia; Rebecca Baumgartner, Scott Forrest, Verna Laboy, Derek Meyer, Joy Peterson, Bobbi Westcott and Tim Wooldridge , all of Columbia; Christy Kremer of Frankenstein; Ben Austene of Hallsville; and Hiromi McCumber of Morioka City, Iwate, Japan.
Each team member puts in $1 per draw for the Powerball drawings held on Wednesday and Saturday nights. The group generally opts for Quick Pick tickets, but Austene says, on occasion, they “get together and pick out what we believe will be lucky numbers.”
So far, the group has reinvested small winnings into future drawings.
“We won $100 once and bought more tickets, liking the idea of having more chances to win!” Austene explained.
He jokes that he usually holds the tickets “with our four-leaf clover, rabbit’s foot and horseshoe.”
With thoughts each week of “hitting it big,” he noted several different ideas about what his fellow players would do with a large lottery win.
“We all think and talk about what we might do if we win,” he started. “Some of us would still work. Some of us would retire early, go on vacations, cruises, pay off houses, upgrade vehicles and donate to our favorite charities.”
For other lottery teams, or to those thinking of forming a lottery players’ group, Austene said, “Keep playing, keep dreaming!”
As the Lottery’s Team of the Month, “Cornerstone’s Future Millionaires” will receive a prize package of Lottery merchandise, as well as a feature on the Lottery’s official website at Molottery.com.