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Five North Iowans split $1 million lottery prize

ELDORA – Five friends who chipped in to buy lottery tickets together had quite a moment today as they claimed a $1 million Mega Millions® prize.

Tim Harless of Eldora bought the group’s $1 million-winning ticket at a local convenience store for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing. The friends call themselves “Just Us” and have played the lottery together for about 15 years. Harless said they’ve won smaller prizes during that time, but now they have a very different story to tell!

Harless is in the middle in the photo here. The four other members of the group are (left to right): Dave Twedt, Steve Wright, Dennis Dickenson, and Julia Salazar. They all live in Eldora and know each other through the Hardin County community of about 2,700.

The four men say that Salazar keeps the rest of them fed. She has managed the local Casey’s convenience store for 20 years, and it’s their regular stop for lunch, snacks and drinks.

Salazar said she checked the results of the drawing and called Harless yesterday morning to share the news that they’d won big. He said she was talking so fast he couldn’t understand her at first, but it finally sunk in.

Salazar also said she was contacted by the Iowa Lottery’s Security Division as part of its verification work for a ticket winning a sizeable prize. That review includes checking the store’s security-camera system for footage of the ticket purchase.

Salazar said that as she watched the security footage with the lottery’s security investigator, she hoped she would see Harless on camera coming into the store and buying a ticket. And there he was!

Dickenson, who works for Harless at the city’s street department, has a story of double good fortune: Last month, he survived quadruple bypass surgery, and now he and his friends have won a big lottery prize. He said he definitely feels lucky!

Harless bought the $1 million-winning ticket at Casey’s, 1807 Edgington Ave. in Eldora. The group’s easy-pick ticket came within one number of having a share of Tuesday’s $372 million jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball. A ticket purchased in Ohio won that night’s jackpot. Tuesday’s winning numbers were: 22-30-53-55-56 and Mega Ball 16. The Megaplier® was 2.

Six prizes of at least $1 million have now been won this year in Iowa. Casey’s will receive a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling the $1 million-winning ticket at one of its stores.

All the members of the Just Us group talked about putting their winnings into savings, paying off bills or investing for retirement. And for Wright, who’s already retired, another possibility is on the list. He said there might have a new pickup in the spring.

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Good for them. Nice X-mas present.

Qpuldnt be splitting SHIT. it would be bye losers. You still have to work here. I’m the hell out. Invest a large portion of that and keep enough out that I can enjoy myself. Never see me in another workplace again. I’ve never wanted to be a hard working productive citizen. I really dont care about the team. Nobody else does either, you all just lie to survive

to bad you didn’t win, I hear that its nice in Iraq this time of year!!!

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