Two co-workers have become instant millionaires, thanks to some dedication and a time-honored tradition. Dawn Cortes of Edwardsville, Ill., 48, and Jerry Marcrum, of Arnold, 60, have been pooling their money together and playing Missouri Lottery games for as long as they’ve both worked at ROI Print Solutions in Earth City. Cortes admitted that they “play Scratchers mostly,” but something told her to purchase a Powerball ticket for the drawing on Oct. 19. The duo’s Quick Pick ticket contained all five white-ball numbers drawn, earning the pair a $1 million second-tier prize.
“On a whim, I saw that the jackpot was $186 million,” Cortes recalled, adding that she “just got this feeling” like she should switch gears and buy a ticket.
“I never, ever play Powerball, unless it’s in a group with my work,” she continued, noting that she and Marcrum “very rarely” play Powerball otherwise.
Luckily, Cortes followed her instinct and bought a ticket at Earth City MotoMart, 3298 Ridertrail South, in Earth City.
The purchase slipped Cortes’ mind, as she vacationed with her husband, Sergio. It was while in Branson that she received a life-changing phone call from Marcrum.
“He calls me, and I’m like, ‘Why is he bothering me while I’m on vacation?’” she teased. “He’s like, ‘Are you having a good time on your vacation, because it’s about to get a lot better!’”
After sharing the news that they’d won $1 million on the ticket they almost didn’t buy, Cortes said she and Sergio finished their vacation feeling “a lot lighter.”
When Cortes returned home, she and Marcrum made the trek to the Lottery’s St. Louis office to claim the prize.
For Cortes, the windfall means that she can help her family, specifically her 21-year-old daughter who is about to graduate from college and begin to pay back student loans.
“The pressure of the economy is no longer an issue,” she said. “I just feel really blessed.”
Marcrum, a father of three grown children and grandfather of three grandchildren, intends to use his half of the windfall to also help out his family with expenses.
Although Marcrum won’t use the prize money to retire, he said the prize will “make it a lot easier.”
“I’ll have most of my bills paid off,” he added.
Marcrum reminisced how Cortes often expressed her belief that they’d “hit the Lottery one of these days.”
“It’s unbelievable. It’s wild,” Marcrum concluded.
Powerball is a multi-state game that gives players nine ways to win cash prizes with the jackpot starting at $40 million. In addition to the jackpot, the game offers second-level prizes of $1 million, third-level prizes of $10,000 and better-than-ever payouts by using Power Play.