Margaret Furasek of Weston is one lucky lady.
Last summer, her husband, Tony, bought her a Nebraska Pick 5 lottery ticket at the BP convenience store, just outside the town of about 300 people west of Wahoo.
Margaret, 88, and Tony, 84, aren’t too nimble with a computer, so each evening at 9:30 they call their daughter, Mary Mika, to see if the numbers match. They had gone through this ritual almost every night for the past 10 years. A few times, they had matched four numbers and won $450 or so, Tony said. But never the big prize.
On July 21, Tony read them off: 2, 3, 12, 14, 28.
Voila! A winner!
“He had me reread the numbers over and over,” Mika told lottery officials at the time. “He called me back in the middle of the night because he thought it might have been a dream.”
The win was worth $94,000, beating odds of 1 in 501,942. The couple put some money into their house, which was built in 1970.
And they kept buying tickets. Could lightning strike twice?
Oh, yes, it could.
On Dec. 23, Tony bought a quick-pick ticket for Margaret. He took it home and, as usual, called Mary at 9:30 to read the numbers off: 8, 13, 20, 21 and 27.
“I said, ‘Grandma, I think you got it twice in six months!’” Tony said in an interview. The haul this time: $138,000.
Margaret said winning was every bit as exciting and unexpected as it was the first time.
Tony said they will do some more work on their house and share their good fortune with their children and grandchildren.
Neil Watson, a Nebraska Lottery spokesman, said double winners aren’t as rare as you might think. Janee Morgan of Grand Island won $174,000 playing Nebraska Pick 5 in 2013, and $106,000 in 2018. Last year, a man from Hadar won a total of $150,000 on two scratch-off tickets, and a man from Lincoln won $350,000 on a Pick 5 ticket and a scratch-off.
Mika told lottery officials she had once advised her parents they were better off burying their money in a jar.
“Guess I was wrong,” she said.