Coworkers at Walworth County factory claim $1 million lottery prize

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Gina Duwe
December 12, 2014

It took about 14 years, but buying weekly lottery tickets finally paid off for a group of 21 coworkers at Pentair in Delavan.

The group recently claimed the $1 million prize from the Mega Millions ticket that matched all five numbers Oct. 17. After taxes, each winner received about $32,000.

“A lot of them couldn't believe it,” Anthony Kienast said of his coworkers' reactions when he told them they had won.

Kienast buys the tickets each week—$2 per person per play—for the group of first-shift welders and assemblers who build pressure tanks.

He usually wakes up early Saturday mornings and checks the numbers on his phone against the stack of tickets.

“I sat there about five minutes, not saying anything—just the shock of seeing all the numbers coming up,” he said.

Also that morning, his girlfriend asked how much the group spends on lottery numbers. When he told her, she said, “Well don't you think if you took that money and invested in something, you'd get a better return?” he recalled.

He showed her the winning ticket and said, “How's that for a return?”

Kienast, who has worked at Pentair about 20 years, waited until going to work Monday to tell is coworkers.

“They were pretty excited,” he said, though several thought he was pulling their legs.

“We're kind of hoping to win the big one so we could all retire,” he said, but the winnings are helping several people that need new vehicles. Others are paying off mortgages and helping growing families.

“It was a nice Christmas bonus,” he said.

He said he would pay off a few bills and put the rest in the bank.

“I was just happy I could help 20 other people,” he said. “That was the best thing about it.”

The group also made Mega Millions history by being the first to match all five numbers, he said.

Kienast varies his ticket purchases, but this winning ticket came from Stinebrink's Piggly Wiggly, 1414 E. Geneva St., Delavan. The store also gets $20,000 for selling the ticket.

The winners will participate in a news conference Monday at the grocery store.

The group won $5,000 when Powerball first started years ago. The winnings were split between 29 people and didn't add up to much, but many of them donated money to a coworker who had liver failure and died shortly after the win.

The group will keep buying lottery tickets.

“You never know. You might get lucky again,” Kienast said. “It may take another 14 years.”

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