"We all hugged and cheered": Seven firefighters split $1 million lottery prize

Jan 11 2023, 9:44 pm

A group of faithful lottery players have raked in some big bucks and now have grand plans for splitting their hefty $1 million jackpot prize.

The team of seven firefighters from the self-described “finest crew in Ottawa” have been playing the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) LOTTO MAX and LOTTO 6/49 together for the past three years, and their continued dedication has finally paid off big.

The group members are:

  • William Russell of Cantley, Quebec
  • Daniel Cooke of Saint Andre-Avellin, Quebec
  • James Bowman of Kenmore
  • Jean-Francois Carrey of Ottawa
  • Jeffrey Faris of Carleton Place
  • Sebastien Fournier Cote of Gatineau, Quebec
  • Shawn MacDonald of Farrellton, Quebec

William Russell has been the main guy in charge of the lotto ticket pool and was the first to learn of the exciting win while on the phone with fellow winner Shawn MacDonald.

“I checked our weekly tickets on the OLG App while chatting with Shawn. When I saw ‘Big Winner,’ I called Shawn over to look because I wasn’t convinced it was real,” Russell said.

When the two fire dudes realized they did, in fact, win the lottery, they called the rest of their friends to deliver the surprising news.

After speaking with fellow winners James Bowman and Sebastian Fournier Cote, the four men huddled into the car and drove to the closest store to validate their winning ticket in person.

“We all hugged and cheered when the lottery terminal shut down,” said MacDonald while collecting the group’s winnings at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto.

For lucky group member Jean-Francois Carrey of Ottawa, this jackpot was even harder to believe.

“It was surreal because I just joined the group a few weeks prior,” said Carrey, who was actually on his way back from a fire call when he was notified of the news.

The group won the Guaranteed $1 Million Prize in the September 7th LOTTO 6/49 Draw.

Divided equally in seven ways, each coworker will take home a cool $142,847, with many planning tropical getaways.

Bowman will celebrate his newfound wealth with a fancy steak dinner and share some of those dollars with his lucky children, while Carrey will pay off his mortgage. Russel Fournier Cote will invest in the real estate market.

This will be a big help for MacDonald, who just welcomed a new baby, and will now have a college fund to pass on to the youngster.

The lucky ticket was purchased at a Real Canadian Superstore in Orleans, Ontario.

Sabrina GamrotSabrina Gamrot

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