Five Gaston County Sheriff’s officers who have been pooling their lottery money for less than a year reportedly hit it big in Saturday’s Powerball drawing by matching all five white balls.
They’ll split a $1 million payday – taking home checks worth $136,000 each after taxes, but all five still showed up for work at the county jail Monday morning.
“We’re professionals,” said Fay Costner, one of the five big winners. “We showed up for the sake of the community and the safety of our fellow officers.”
The other four winners, according to Costner, are: Joseph Heffner, Thomas Summey, Charles Martin and Barry Ervin.
They all have shifts to pull again today, but have an off day Wednesday, and plan to travel to Raleigh then to pick up their winnings, Costner said.
This marks the second $1 million win for Gaston County lottery players in less than a month. On Dec. 31, Matthew Alton, 20, of Gastonia matched the five white balls on a ticket he bought at the One Stop Grocery at 510 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia.
The odds of matching all five balls: 1 in 5,138,133. Powerball made those odds a little more difficult after adding Florida to the multi-state lottery game Jan. 1.
Costner bought the lottery tickets Friday from TAS Drug at 500 W. Church St., Cherryville. Head cashier Violet Grantt said she has known Costner for years, and was glad to see the group of law enforcement officers win.
“They’re very nice people,” Grantt said. “I’m really happy for them. It couldn’t have happened to nicer people.”
The five contribute $20 every five weeks on their lottery playing, Costner said.
“The return was great,” she said of winning. “It feels real good.”
None of the five ever considered skipping work Monday to collect their winnings, she said, although they did call Sheriff Alan Cloninger to tell them of their good fortune.
“He was overjoyed,” Costner said.
They created a buzz around the department Monday, but they carried on their duties as usual, said Capt. D.A. Yelton. All five hold key positions in the jail, so it was not surprising to see them at work, he said.
“They’re all professional and they know the importance of their jobs,” Yelton said. “It never dawned on me that they wouldn’t be here.”
You can reach Kevin Ellis at 704-869-1823.
Odds of matching all five white balls: 1 in 5,138,133
Odds of matching all five white balls and Powerball: 195,249,054
Randy Erwin/Photo illustration
For the second time in less than 30 years Gaston County lottery players have won $1 million in Powerball