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Florida Lottery Winners Return to Club Jobs

August 01, 2000|From Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — It's back to work today for most of the 25 employees of a Vero Beach golf club who shared the winning ticket from a $65-million Florida Lotto drawing last month.

JoAnne Dowling, who bought the winning ticket for the group, will be managing the dining room at the Bent Pine Golf Club, making sure the tablecloths, china and silverware are properly set for lunch.

"It's too good of a place to quit," Dowling said.

Since the club is closed Mondays, Dowling and 13 of the other winners were able to take a six-hour bus ride to Tallahassee to receive more than $23 million--the one-time, after-tax payout from the July 22 jackpot. The winners could have received the full $65 million, minus taxes, if they had chosen a payout over 30 years.

"I have not slept, there's just too much excitement," Dowling said.

She will be joined at the club today by nearly all of the new almost-millionaires. A 26th member of the lucky group works elsewhere.

The members have been pitching in $1 twice a week for five years to buy tickets. The club employees, who range in age from 19 to 51, earn an average of about $250 a week.

Assistant golf pro Scott Cairns, 32, can put the money to good use with a wife and three children at home, but he enjoys his work.

"It's something I love to do," he said. "It's a dream job. . . . But [the money] makes it a little bit easier."

One of the youngest winners, 20-year-old Joey Schlitt, wasn't at work the day Dowling collected money for the drawing. But Cairns threw in his payment.

"It was a matter of luck," Schlitt said.

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