A family of 17 siblings will share a $20 million lottery jackpot they hit on nearly two years after Superstorm Sandy ravaged homes in their New Jersey shore town.
Members of the Endreson family packed the Beachwood Community Center on Thursday for a news conference. A lottery spokeswoman said the siblings range in age from 53 to 76. The New Jersey Pick-6 prize will also be shared with three children of a brother who died a few years ago, according to The Associated Press.
John Endreson, 69, became emotional when he described rebuilding his home after Sandy ripped through the area in October 2012.
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"The hardest part was seeing other people that were devastated," he said. "I was able to redo my house and help my family and my brothers. I was quite fortunate. I just feel so lucky. And this is just the icing on the cake."
Another sibling described how their late mother started playing the lottery regularly years ago and would always say that all her children would get a piece of the winnings.
Faith Schiabor told how she got the news from one of her sisters who had bought the winning ticket.
"I got this frantic phone call," she said. "She said, 'Are you sitting down?' I thought someone was hurt."
Her sister Sigrid told reporters that she bought the tickets and then forgot about them for about two weeks before going down to a supermarket to check them. When one came back with the message, "see cashier," she ran it through again before taking it up to the window and getting the good news.
"I started to cry," she said. "I called my sister to come get me. I didn't think I was going to make it. I said, 'I think I won the lottery.'"
The family decided to take a lump sum payment of $14 million, which is worth about $10 million after taxes.
"It's going to help the family, it's going to help Ocean County," Schiabor said. "It's just a great pick-me-up for all of us."
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