22 Union County co-workers win $1 million Mega Millions prize

Dreams of winning the record Mega Millions jackpot led 22 lucky co-workers to a $1 million lottery win. 

The group saw the $1.537 billion jackpot for Tuesday’s drawing and decided at the last minute it would be fun to start an office pool. 

“We didn’t even realize how much the tickets were,” Katherine Lindsey McIntyre said. “We just had everyone who wanted to participate chip in $1.” 

The whim decision allowed the group to get 11 Quick Pick tickets from the Zoom Express on Skyway Drive in Monroe.

DeCora Bowers was the first one to realize the group’s good luck. 

“I checked the numbers on my phone using the lottery app,” Bowers said. “I was looking at the numbers and flipping through the tickets. When I got to the last one I couldn’t believe it.”

She immediately called Mary McNeely to tell her they won.

“I started screaming when she told me,” McNeely said. “I woke everyone up in my family because I was so loud.”

They started playing phone tag, calling everyone in the group who would answer their phone. Those who didn’t answer found out the next morning when they went to work. It came as a real surprise to Marilyn Vaughn who didn’t even know she was part of the pool.

“I heard everybody screaming and hollering,” Vaughn said. “Another coworker asked me if I was in the pool, and I said, ‘What pool?’ Apparently someone had paid a $1 for me. I couldn’t believe it, I was in shock!”

Vaughn left work and went to share the good news with Pamela Dennis who was home sick.

“I was dressed in my pajamas and bathrobe and resting when I got a knock on the door,” Dennis said. “I opened it and Marilyn was there saying, ‘We won! We won! We won!’ I couldn’t wrap my head around it, I was stunned.”

The group came to lottery headquarters in Raleigh later that afternoon to claim the prize. They split the prize 22 ways and after required state and federal tax withholdings, they each took home over $32,000.

As for what everyone plans to do with the money, the dreams are varied. Some plan to make investments or pay off student loans, others plan to travel.

Barbara Medlin plans to use the money to fulfill her dream of having a second child.

“My husband and I have had a lot of fertility issues,” Medlin said. “We’ve been trying to save enough money to adopt. We were $7,000 short, so that will take care of it for us. It’s a huge relief.”

Lamont Reaves wants to experience a little bit of American history.

“I’m going to go to Oregon and visit the last Blockbuster store,” Reaves said. When asked why he responded, “It’s Blockbuster. It’s historical and nostalgic.”

The ticket matched the five white balls to win $1 million. It beat odds of one in 12,607,306. It was one of two sold in North Carolina to win $1 million prizes in the drawing. Two Multiplier tickets won $30,000, and nine tickets won $10,000 in the drawing.