CLIVE, Ia. — One lottery ticket buyer's loss is the gain of group of Cedar Rapids workers.
The Iowa Lottery announced Wednesday that a group of 34 workers at Collins Aerospace, which designs and makes aircraft components, won the $1 million top prize in a lottery promotion to give away an unclaimed Powerball prize.
Laurie Ginder of Anamosa, who entered the contest on behalf of her coworkers, said she couldn't believe it when she found out they'd won.
"At first, they (her co-workers) didn't believe it," Ginder said. "I got a lot of, 'Is this a joke? Is this for real?'"
Ginder, who announced the happy news via email, described her coworkers' reactions as a game of wack-a-mole, but instead of moles popping up, it was the sound of "oh my god," from around the office.
The group of Collins Aerospace employees play the lottery regularly, and Ginder, who has been the group's organizer for the past three years, said it's been going on longer than she has been involved.
Ginder was on her was to buy another ticket when she got the call that they had won.
When asked if she ever thought they would win, Ginder said she wrote "Always believe something wonderful is about to happen" at the bottom of her emails to the group, adding "Naysayers get kicked out."
The unclaimed Powerball ticket was bought in Nevada last year. Nevada is a small town of less than 7,000 residents located in Story County, Iowa.
Under state law, the money from unclaimed lottery prizes goes into prize pools for future games and promotions, so the lottery decided to hold a "Woo Hoo A Million For You" giveaway for the $1 million. Under the promotion, lottery players could enter any Powerball ticket bought in Iowa from May 29 through June 11. Players made a total of 165,265 entries.
The winning ticket held by the Cedar Rapids group was bought at an Anamosa convenience store.