Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 22, 2012

Bland County coworkers win $250,000 Virginia Lottery jackpot

BLAND, Va. — A group of employees at a Bland County manufacturing company will be seeing their wallets get much thicker after winning a $250,000 jackpot in the Virginia Lottery.

Todd Akers, project manager with the company, said he and 16 other employees of the company’s marketing department lucked out this past week when one of their tickets hit a big jackpot.

“There are 17 of us who have been playing the lottery together for about six or seven years,” Akers said. “The ticket was purchased Tuesday afternoon at Food City in Bluefield, Va. We buy 17 Mega Millions and 17 Powerball tickets twice a week. The next biggest we’ve ever hit was $150 about five years ago.”

Akers said he usually buys tickets for the group, but a recent illness led Akers to ask his father to purchase the group’s tickets.

“I’m usually the ticket buyer, but on Tuesday I was out sick so my father went to Food City in Bluefield, Va., and picked the tickets up for us,” he said. “We generally buy our tickets in Bastian, Va., which is on my way home. Everybody waited until I actually got back to work before verifying the ticket. They didn’t want to get too excited. There was a lot of excitement when that ticket was verified.”

The winning numbers for that drawing were 5-9-22-36-49 and the Mega Ball number was 36, according to the Virginia Lottery. The group used the Easy Pick option, allowing a computer to randomly select the numbers on their ticket.

According to Akers, he and the other winners are already making plans for their prize.

“We have several grandfathers that are wanting to use it to do things with their grandkids,” Akers said. “Vacations are another common thing people are wanting to do. One person is buying an engagement ring. There are several that are just trying pay off things like their cars and houses. It’s nice to have that extra money. It ended up being a fairly substanial amount for each of us, even though there were 17 of us total.”

Though they’ve already won big, Akers said he and his co-workers are hoping to see lightning strike twice.

“We are definitely going to keep playing,” Akers said. “They have been asking if my dad could get tickets for us again. We are going to be giving him a nice thank you for picking up those winning tickets. People have always said my father and I are very lucky, which I guess why it became my duty to purchase the tickets. It’s worked out once. We’re going to see if we can work it out again.”

Along with Akers, the winners in the pool included Todd Havens, Lynn Faulkner, Loyd Breedlove, Ricky Anders, Stephen Newberry, Kevin Martin, Carla Pauley, Heather Cox, Thomas Harner, James Smith, Edward Morehead, Richard Havens, William Tickle, Randolph Bridges, Jason Lambert and Barry Dillow.

John Haggerty, a spokesperson with the Virginia Lottery, said groups and office pools sometimes have better odds than a single-ticket buyer.

“We usually divide the winnings however the member of a winning pool wants it,” Haggerty said. “Usually, they ask for each member to get an equal share of winnings. Each member is responsible for taxes on the portion of prize winnings they receive. We see office pools win the jackpots at unusually high rates. This office pool, however, has been playing regularly together for several years. We aren’t sure why this is. Some people just enjoy camradiere in the workplace of having an office pool. It helps bring the office together.”

Haggerty said the group beat the odds.

“The odds of winning the $250,000 prize in Mega Millions are one in 3,904,701,” he said. “Since the prize was divided 17 ways, each member of the pool received about $14,700 before taxes.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

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