Newfoundland boilermakers win $60M lotto jackpot, most plan to keep working
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018 10:35AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2018 6:06PM EST
Even though they’re all millionaires now, most of the winners of last week’s history-making $60-million jackpot will be waking up early to head back to work on Monday morning.
The 31 Newfoundlanders are from the Boilermakers Local 203 union and work in construction at the Come By Chance Refinery in Come By Chance, N.L. They include a pair of twin brothers, a father and son, and a married couple.
Each winner will receive nearly $1.9 million. The $60-million jackpot is the largest in Atlantic Canada history and one of the top five in Canada.
The lucky group was introduced during a boisterous cheque presentation ceremony at the St. John’s Convention Centre in St. John’s, N.L. on Wednesday.
Sherry Moore Hickey, the sole female and “ringleader” of the group, purchased the winning ticket and told the assembled audience that she had some trouble convincing her co-workers they had won the big prize.
“I had to call 29 people and be told silly things like, ‘Are you drinking?’ ‘Is there something wrong with you?’” she said with a laugh. “I told them all the same story, ‘We’re millionaires.’ I sent out a text: ‘This is not a joke. We are millionaires. Check the tickets.’”
Her husband, Lee Hickey, didn’t appear to have any trouble absorbing the news. He recited the winning numbers to the crowd from memory with a big grin.
After relaying the good news to her fellow winners, Hickey joked that she had won twice that day.
“I was told by 30 men [including her husband] in one day that they all love me so how many women have that happen to them?” she said.
Although there are no plans for a big party with her 29 new “BFFs” just yet, Hickey said the group will probably get together to celebrate once the dust settles a bit. In the meantime, Hickey bought herself a car and her husband purchased a truck with their winnings.
‘We’re union people’
Out of the 31 winners, 26 of them said they will be returning to work at the oil refinery on Monday morning.
“We’re union people,” Hickey told the crowd. “We do what we’re meant to do. This is our lives…We’re going to get up and we’re going to go back to work.”
William Cantwell, 41, is among those planning to go back to work.
“We’re diehard boilermakers and when boilermakers give their word ... we finish our job,” Cantwell said.
“We started a job and we’re going to finish. Some of my co-workers, after that are going to move on,” he said. “Im only a young 41-year-old yet so I’m still going to continue on and work for another few years.”
Eugene Lewis, 63, said he found out they had won the lottery at 4:37 a.m. on Saturday morning and retired two minutes later.
“It’s the end of the storybook, a little happy ending,” said Lewis.
Brent Scrimshaw, the president and CEO of Atlantic Lottery Corp., presented the giant cheque to the group and called the winners “incredibly special” during the presentation.
“They represent the spirit that is Atlantic Canada and they represent what it means to be Newfoundlanders,” he said. “These folks are going back to work on Monday to finish a job and that’s pride of place, pride of company and pride of team.”
Tracy Shute, a spokesperson for the company, told CTV News Channel earlier on Wednesday that the union workers were “hardworking” Newfoundlanders.
“There’s no bitterness in this province today about this group of winners because everybody is so excited because they can so relate to who they are,” she said.
With a report from NTV’s Kelly-Anne Roberts