2002-05-13 16:19:50.263


video icon Employees at a Fenton printing company always considered themselves a big happy family, but after winning a $1.3 million Lotto jackpot, the "family" is no longer just happy, they’re ecstatic. All seven employees, including the two owners, at Speed-e-Way Printing Services in Fenton claimed the May 8 jackpot prize to become the Missouri Lottery’s newest millionaires.
"We didn’t sleep all night. We just stayed up and talked on the phone to each other," said Valerie Friend of Ballwin, a spokesperson for the group. "We all showed up at work at 7 a.m. the next day and just hugged each other for a long time.
"This isn’t going to be millions of dollars for anyone, but we all need it," she said.
Friend said the group has been buying tickets together off and on for a few years, but has been pretty consistent during the past three months. One member of the group, Tiffany Zorich, was absent the day they collected money to buy the group’s tickets, but members of the group contributed her share for her.
Friend, who is now being called the "hero" of the group, purchased the winning ticket at Dierbergs-Fenton, 450 Old Smizer Mill Road in Fenton. She let the computer select the winning numbers. They were: 5, 6, 15, 25, 29 and 30.
Another member of the group Deena Luster said her brother Mick Kenner and Dennis Agnew bought the printing business after each had worked there for about 20 years. Luster’s sister, Pamela Barlow, also works for the business.
"My sister was just saying that her car was going out, so this is really going to help her," Luster said. "I’m already buying a new house, so this will help me get it ready to move in.
"I can’t tell you the difference this is going to make for all of us," she said. "Everyone there really needs this."
Members of the lucky group include: Valerie Friend of Ballwin; Deena Luster of Pacific; Pamela Barlow, Mickey Kenner and Dennis Agnew, all of Dupo, Ill.; Jaclyn Bodkin of Imperial; and Tiffany Zorich of St. Louis.
Friend said she plans to help her fiance since he just had open-heart surgery. Both Friend and Luster said one other member of the group plans to buy a nicer home and another plans to buy a car.
The group selected the cash option, so each member will receive about $92,800 before taxes. Dierbergs-Fenton will receive a check for $13,000, an amount equal to 1 percent of the jackpot, for selling the winning ticket.
To date, 176 jackpot tickets worth $1 million or more have been sold since the Missouri Lottery began 16 years ago. Of those tickets, 129 were Lotto tickets.

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