The Lucky PBL 4 hit the jackpot!

By Anna Carrera

Published 01/02 2014 05:35PM

Updated 01/02 2014 06:32PM

PAXTON -- Four people in central Illinois are a combined million dollars richer. They hit the jackpot and won the Powerball lottery.

They call themselves "The Lucky PBL Four" and they just got their giant check on Thursday afternoon. That group's been playing together for years now. They all met while working at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School. Three of them still do.

The group started pooling money and buying tickets here and there and it finally paid off. Those four people have spent a combined 109 years working at PBL.

"We were always a pretty close knit group and just enjoyed each other's company," said Jim Carley, a retired Social Studies teacher.

After years of buying gas station tickets, they took a gamble on an online account. John Overstreet, who works as a Social Studies teacher and the school's athletic director, picked the numbers for their 3-month subscription.

"We went with quick pick," said Overstreet. "The first set of numbers I got, I didn't keep. I reset it to get a certain number, which was 12 -- the day my wife and I got married on. And that's the numbers we stayed with."

Over Thanksgiving weekend, those were the winning numbers.

"It was unreal," said PBL secretary Martha Gentes.

"It was very exciting," said another PBL secretary, Diana Hale.

"He [Overstreet] comes in and brought me into the office and I said, 'did we win?'" said Gentes. "And he said, 'yeah.' So I was jumping up and down and gave him the biggest hug."

The other half of their group wasn't at school. Hale was in St. Louis, taking care of her son who just had a bone marrow transplant.

"My husband happened to be on Facebook and said, 'hey, somebody from town won!'" said Hale. "And jokingly I said, 'oh wouldn't it be fun.' And after the words came out of my mouth, the phone rang."

Carley retired from teaching a couple years back.

"You always hope, think what would I do if I did," said Carley, "but boy when that day comes, it's just disbelief."

They say it's finally starting to set in and hope their good luck is just beginning.

"I think that's the plan, to keep playing," said Overstreet. "You never know!"

Each of them will get about $175,000 after taxes. Most of them plan to put it toward their retirement or to help their kids pay for school. And if they win again, I think we may know why. You can't spell Powerball without PBL!

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Featured Coupon


Featured Business