‘Super Lucky' DHMC Colleagues Win at Lottery
By John P. Gregg
Valley News Staff Writer
Lebanon -- A group of 20 nurses and staff members at a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center pediatrics unit may have more spring in their steps this week.
After only six weeks of contributing $1 apiece to buy 20 lottery tickets every Monday, the group has won $200,000 in a Powerball drawing.
Each member of the pool last week received a check from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission for $7,500 -- $2,500 was deducted for federal taxes -- and they're planning to get together at a Hanover restaurant tonight to celebrate.
Gidget Vittum, a unit technician for inpatient pediatrics at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth, collects the money every week and buys 20 “easy pick” Powerball tickets at the Cumberland Farms store on Central Street in Woodsville.
She didn't have a chance to check the numbers from the April 22 Powerball drawing until last week, then quickly realized one ticket had matched five of the winning numbers from that day's drawing: 15-22-30-37-48.
Vittum checked the Powerball rules and realized the ticket was worth $200,000.
“I was in shock, then when I came to work to tell everybody, nobody believed me,” said Vittum, a Woodsville resident.
“I have to tell you, my first reaction was disbelief,” added Lyme resident Patrice Super, a nurse on the pediatric and adolescent unit. “I thought she was pulling my leg.”
Vittum and Terri Hamilton, a support services coordinator at the pediatric inpatient unit, put the ticket in a locked drawer until Vittum and a colleague could collect the needed paperwork to claim the prizes, and checks, from the Lottery Commission in Concord last Friday.
Hamilton, a Bradford, Vt., resident, said she first heard that the ticket was worth $20,000, then learned it was worth 10 times that amount.
“I immediately did the math and said, ‘Now we're talking, that's much nicer,’ ” said Hamilton, who took her parents out for a nice dinner. She also is going to buy some new tires for her car and use some of the proceeds for her property taxes. The rest of the money will pay for hotel rooms this summer to follow her children's travel teams on the road.
Tami Yake, a unit secretary from Charlestown, said she is setting aside most of her share in savings, but also using some to fix her car and to save up for a vacation with her husband.
“We're doing some sensible things with it,” she said.
Super took her daughters to Burlington for a “mini-shopping spree,” and is using the rest for property taxes and other regular expenses.
Vittum said her share is going to spruce up her car and buy new tires prior to having it inspected and re-registered next month. She also is buying herself a new television and trying to get a few months ahead on her car payment.
“It couldn't come at a better time,” she said.
Lottery spokeswoman Maura McCann said the DHMC group's strategy is not uncommon.
“Office pools are very popular,” she said. “By pooling their money, they can get more tickets and more opportunities to win.”
And the DHMC group came close to a really big jackpot. If they had also matched the Powerball number of 12 on their winning ticket (their ticket had the number 27), they would have split a jackpot worth an estimated $42 million, McCann said.
But the group isn't wasting any time -- Vittum said she and her colleagues have turned down requests from other co-workers to join their lottery pool and have already bought tickets for an upcoming drawing.
“We're going to continue to play and might double it up to $2 each, because now we feel super lucky,” Hamilton said.