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Still working at the same job in the same office in the same town with the same boss, every single one of the West Virginia Lottery’s eight $176 million Powerball jackpot winners say that with nearly $12 million in each bank account, there is no rush for the door.

“We like what we do. We like each other. And to tell you the truth, we are all very grounded, reasonable people. There was never a feeling that we needed to make a mass exodus from work,” said group spokeswoman Linda Fominko. The only retirement announced following the jackpot win was that of one winner’s husband, who had planned to retire in November.

After three sleepless nights, eight Monongalia County Tax Office workers claimed the $139 million cash option from the March 15th $276 million Powerball drawing on March 18th at the Lottery’s office in Charleston.

The “Easy Pick” ticket was purchased at Paula’s on Holland Ave. in Westover from Garry Greynolds.

The State of West Virginia was paid more than $9 million in taxes, with taxes paid the federal government totaling nearly $35 million. Of the $95.5 million prize remaining after taxes, each winner received $11.9 million.

While jackpot winners have to wait two weeks before receiving their prize payments in most Powerball states, Lottery Director John Musgrave, wanted to give each winner $1 million “walking around money” at the March 18th news conference. The $10.9 million balance was transferred to the winners’ bank accounts on April 2.

Claiming the prize on behalf of her seven co-workers, Linda Fominko, said she had called everyone by 3 AM Sunday morning. “I stayed up to watch for the numbers and check our tickets. By the time I made the calls, I had moved from disbelief to stunned, but everyone else was stuck in disbelief with questions like, ‘Are you sure? Did you look at it right? Do you know what you’re doing?’”

Fominko said various employees in her office often go together to buy Powerball tickets after the jackpot passes $200 million. “This time around I bought 40 tickets, 30 at Paula’s and the remainder near a grocery store I frequent.”

In addition to Fominko, who has worked for the tax office 35 years, the winners include Amanda Pugh, 33, who has worked in the office three years; Paula Pride, 65, a 31-year employee; Andrea Grey, 37, a one-year employee; Jessica Dotson, 27, who worked three years part-time and moved to full time three months ago; Judith Gapen, 58, a 14-year employee; Crystal Magro, 49, who has worked in the tax office nearly 16 years; and Allecia Priore, 36, a 10-year employee.

Fominko said that among the winners are several who have faced serious family illness; another is caring for a sister who is mentally and physically handicapped. Opting not to disclose the communities in which each winner lives, Fominko said that excepting one employee from Fairmont, the remainder of the winners lives in Monongalia County.

West Virginia has sold 13 MultiState Lottery jackpot tickets since it became a flagship state in 1988; seven of those have been Powerball jackpots.

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