Cheese workers win Powerball dough
Dozens of Sargento employees say they'll split $208.6 million
Tuesday, August 8, 2006; Posted: 4:27 a.m. EDT (08:27 GMT)
Lori Breske, left, greets Powerball winner Jill Wilkens as she arrives at work Monday.
PLYMOUTH, Wisconsin (AP) -- Dozens of cheese company workers returned to their jobs Monday after they reported being among about 100 workers who won a Powerball jackpot worth $208.6 million.
Andrea Fink, 26, of Sheboygan, said she arrived early for her second shift in the afternoon at Sargento Foods to meet with the other winners. The group said it held the only winning ticket for Saturday's Powerball drawing.
"I don't know what to say. I can't believe it. It just seems unreal," said Fink, who planned to buy a house with her winnings.
Sargento Chief Executive Officer Lou Gentine said he met with most of the winners and some other employees Monday afternoon before they started work, and the gathering often burst into applause.
The ticket has been turned over to an attorney, he said, though he was not sure when it would be submitted to the lottery. The group estimates each person will receive between $500,000 and $700,000, after taxes, if they choose to take a lump sum, he said.
"To see the joy on their faces, it's just incredible," Gentine said. "We're really happy for them."
The winners are of different ages and do a variety of jobs, such as cutting and shredding cheese, loading trucks and performing maintenance, Gentine said. He said their salaries range between $30,000 and $50,000 a year.
Colleen Sumner, 51, of Crystal Lake, said she was not sure whether she would keep working at Sargento, where she has been employed for nearly 19 years.
"It's going to help how many different families. It's super. It's a lot better than one person winning," she said.
The winning ticket was sold at Ma and Pa's Grocery Express in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, along the so-called "Miracle Mile," a stretch of South Main Street where several stores sold multimillion-dollar tickets during the 1990s.
Ma and Pa's sold a winning Megabucks ticket worth $6.5 million in 1994 and has sold tickets that won $500,000, $250,000 and $100,000.
Powerball is played in 29 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.