They work together, they play together and - now - they've won a $1 million prize together.
Since 1990, Charlie Rush has owned and operated Carpet Discount Warehouse on Independence Boulevard in Charlotte. Over the past several years Rush and his employees have pooled their money to get a Powerball ticket for each of the twice-weekly drawings.
Rush collects the money and buys the tickets, often at the Queen City Food Mart just half a mile down the road. He plays special numbers he came up with long ago based on his father's advice.
Wednesday night, those numbers won $1 million.
Kirk Rush, Charlie's son and part-owner of the business, was the first to realize the group's good luck the morning after the drawing. As is his routine, he was at home checking the numbers on the computer when he saw that the group's ticket matched all five white balls in the drawing - beating odds of 1 in 5.1 million - and winning them $1 million.
"I screamed as loud as I could for my wife," Rush recalled. "I set the screen down in front of her and said, 'You see that? That's a million.'"
Rush wasted no time making phone calls to share the news with the other nine group members: Each of them had won a $100,000 share of the prize.
"I hear Hawaii is nice this time of year," said installation specialist Tony Young.
Two other winners said a portion of their $69,250 in after-tax winnings would be used to go on vacation. Israel Barker, a sales associate, planned to take a two-week trip to the beach over the July 4 holiday. Kirk Rush said his family was Florida-bound.
Other winners said they would tithe to their church, pay bills, save for the future, and share with family. The group said they planned to keep playing Powerball the same as they have been.
The members of the "Carpet Discount Warehouse" team are:
Jean Atkinson of Matthews
Israel Barker of Charlotte
Robert Coulam of Charlotte
Reid Glenn of Waxhaw
Gelacio Rios of Matthews
Charlie Rush of Matthews
Kirk Rush of Matthews
Johanna Tinajero of Charlotte
Amy Watkins of Greensboro, Ga.
Tony Young of Charlotte
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