Not much happens in the small town of Holdingford, Minnesota. With a population of just over 700 people, it’s rarely taken up many column inches in the national newspapers.
Yet on one morning some 14 years ago, Holdingford found itself the talk of a nation. The local school was surrounded by cameras and news reporters, all waiting to get a glimpse of 16 very happy dinner ladies.
Nicknamed the “Happy Huskers”, the group of women had each contributed 25 cents into a workplace syndicate lottery pool.
On October the 23rd 2003, they found out they had won the $95 million lottery jackpot.
It meant that each lady walked away with close to $6 million. Some chose to cash in on their winnings all at once, while others chose a pay-out of $134,000 over the course of 45 years.
Two of the group’s winners, Donna Lange and Barb Nelson, recently sat down with the US network NBC to talk about how the big win had changed their lives.
Lange, now aged 79, chose to retire instantly following the big win to build her dream home. Since then, she has downsized and moved to a small lake house near the picturesque US town of Avon. She credits the win for taking all the financial stress out of retirement.
Nelson, on the other hand, chose to carry on working. As well as her full-time job, she now owns and runs a family dairy farm.
“I think of the 16, everybody is pretty much the same and I think basically a good person or (the) people they were.” Said Lange in the interview.
Incredibly, several of the winners still work in the school cafeteria. It’s that element of the story that has left much of America captivated by their story all these years later.
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