$10k lottery win was dress rehearsal for Ware couple

By Kim Ring
Worcester Telegram & Gazette / November 5, 2008
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WARE - Retired firefighter Leo F. Dominie has heard that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but after the 72-year-old hit the lottery twice last month, he is not inclined to believe it.

Dominie, a 30-year veteran firefighter, bought a $20 lottery ticket called Billion Dollar Bonanza on a trip to Springfield a few weeks ago and, as always, teased his wife, Claudette, that it was a good one. He scratched it, and 10 $1,000 symbols appeared and matched his winning numbers.

"It was pretty good," he said.

Then on a Friday night, he headed downtown to buy a ticket at the package store, but instead, he doesn't know why, he turned his car around and headed up East Street and went into the Highland Farms convenience store and Sunoco gasoline station about a mile from the firehouse.

He got back in the car and started scratching at the ticket as his wife watched. The familiar adrenaline rush he used to get when the fire whistle blew began taking over once he realized what was happening.

"She said my face changed, and she could tell," he said, remembering the moment he saw the letters on the ticket's code. "I was wondering if it was $1 million or $10 million because that ticket has both."

It was $1 million, and that was enough. His wife looked at the ticket and wept in the passenger's seat.

They were thrilled, but the lottery office would not be open until the following Monday.

"You know people always say they'd like to hit a million but you don't realize the stress," Dominie said. "My hands were literally shaking. My wife wanted to dig a hole under our mobile home to hide it."

They hardly got any sleep and kept a close eye on the ticket until they headed to Springfield to claim the cash.

When the lottery agent heard how much they had won, the Dominies were whisked into a private area and given their check.

They will receive $50,000 annually for 20 years before taxes.

The store where he bought the ticket will get a $10,000 bonus.

Dominie said the money is a "security blanket," especially during these tough economic times.

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