Written By: Stacey Barchenger
MELBOURNE (FloridaToday.com)- Since she was a kid, the numbers 10 and 14 have been haunting for Hollie Freece. The numbers always stood out on receipts. They caught her eye on clocks.
She thought she'd get married or have a child on Oct. 14; she didn't. She went to psychics trying to figure out what the numbers meant. She worried it would be a date something bad would happen.
On Monday - 3/10/14 - Freece learned the numbers paid out in a big way. She and 15 others, most of whom work at Avanté at Melbourne, won $1 million in the Powerball lottery.
Joan Boroff took over as kingpin of the lottery pool at Avanté, an adult rehabilitation facility on Oak Street in Melbourne, just two weeks ago. When the staff gets paid, she collects $8 and numbers from everyone who wants in.
After her first collection, the tickets won $8. Split evenly, everyone got 50 cents.
Some staffers have been playing for years and have never seen a big payout. For a second time, Boroff collected everyone's numbers Thursday and went to a Shell gas station on Sarno Road to buy tickets.
Freece chose digits she'd used before: the ever-present duo, her mom's birthday, her husband's age and her age.
10, 14, 24, 32, 41.
Her Powerball pick - 2 - has always been lucky.
Saturday night's Powerball picks came and went. There was only one winning ticket, with five matching numbers.
It wasn't until Monday morning that the Avanté pool learned of their good fortune.
Lenore Warren's husband sent her a text. She was in Room 226, helping a patient. She read the message about 10:30 a.m.
"Do you know that you all hit the Powerball five numbers?" she read the text from her phone. She called him. Warren, Boroff, Freece and Avanté activites director Cher Stanley huddled around the computer in Stanley's office. In a tight cubicle filled with scrap booking supplies, board games, trivia books, they confirmed the numbers.
They began screaming. Hugging. The website said they'd won $1 million.
Monday turned into a blur of celebration at Avanté. "I'm looking for a single winner?" one man joked. Others claimed lunch was on the winners. Some asked why they weren't in on the pool.
They'll take the payout in a lump sum. The Florida Lottery hadn't confirmed the exact amount Monday. The winners speculated it would be between $26,000 and $60,000 each.
Figuring a 25 percent cut for federal taxes, the pool of 16 will split $750,000.
About $47,000 a person.
What plans do you make when you wake up on a Monday, suddenly $47,000 richer? It's not enough money to quit your job, but it's enough to make dreams come true.
Stanley will save some for her daughter, a senior at Eau Gallie High, to go to college. Then, she'll take a helicopter ride to the Florida Keys. She goes every year for lobster season and has always wanted to fly in.
Lucien Quan Ching, a respiratory therapist, will go to the Jared jewelry storeand pick up the round solitaire diamond ring he promised his fiancee. She picked out the ring more than a year ago.
Others will save the money for retirement or pay bills for family members.
Boroff has been playing in the Avanté lottery pool for more than a decade. She adopted a son two years ago, and since has said if she won, she'd buy a new car.
"It's no more pretending that I don't have to drive a Chrysler Sebring," she said. She doesn't know what kind of car she'll buy, but it'll be more "momlike," something suitable for her son.
With plans to be determined, Freece knows one thing about those numbers, 10 and 14, that have spooked her since she was 17.
"Someone once told me it means life is going the way it's supposed to go," she said. "Today, it definitely is."