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Hairstylists from area share in cut of $1 million lottery prize

Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones.
Left right: Lorraine Smith Hoffman Estates Gerlinde HruskHuntley Nicole Murray A Shear Delight owner DonnCarmen Bartlett

Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. Left to right: Lorraine Smith of Hoffman Estates, Gerlinde Hruska of Huntley, Nicole Murray, A Shear Delight owner Donna Carmen of Bartlett, Donna Thomas of Bloomingdale and Sharon Melbourne of Bloomingdale. |Emily Miller~Sun-Tiimes Media

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Updated: December 21, 2012 6:17AM

HANOVER PARK — “Sheer delight” probably is a good description of the reaction that nine area hairstylists at the A Shear Delight salon had to the news earlier this month they had won the Illinois Lottery’s Halloween Millionaire Raffle.

Or sheer disbelief.

One cried when Lorraine Smith of Hoffman Estates announced the ticket the co-workers had bought together — finally, after playing the lottery together for four years — had won $1 million, Smith said. The rest looked at her as if she was crazy, she added.

“We still aren’t sure we believe it,” said Donna Thomas of Bloomingdale. “I don’t know that it has (sunk in) yet. Maybe when the money arrives.”

It wasn’t the money, but the oversized check made out to the salon, that arrived Monday with Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones at A Shear Delight, 610 Wise Road.

Jones presented the check to six of the nine stylists and promised they’d have the money before Christmas; the ticket still needs to be processed. He called the group’s win “a classic example of anything is possibly with the Illinois Lottery.”

“The only way you can be absolutely sure you won’t win is if you don’t play,” he said.

The group has been playing small lottery games together every week since Donna Carmen of Bartlett opened A Shear Delight about four years ago, said Smith, who usually buys tickets for the group. Several had been playing together even longer — they worked together at a salon that closed just as Carmen’s opened, she said.

And they’ve won a few small games here and there, according to Smith.

But the Thursday before Halloween, she sent co-worker Margo Tellone of Bloomingdale to buy a $20 Halloween Millionaire Raffle ticket for the group, something they usually do at the holidays, she said.

Tellone returned from 4-T Liquor Corral, 1004 E. Irving Park Road, Streamwood, with two tickets — one for herself and one for the group pool, Smith said. She flipped them upside-down and told Smith to pick the one for the salon.

The two learned the day after Halloween they had won when Smith checked the results on her iPad, she said. She called Tellone immediately and was excited to tell her co-workers in person the next day, she said.

4-T Liquor Corral will receive a $10,000 bonus from the Illinois Lottery, according to the lottery.

“How many people get to say, ‘I won the Lotto?’ I love saying it!” Carmen said.

Just as exciting, she said, she plans to use the money to pay off the loan she took out to start the salon.

Sharon Melbourne of Bloomingdale said she has 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren — and this holiday season, “they’re all going to get a little extra.”

Their co-workers all said they planned to save their money and continue life as usual — just a little more comfortably, and with one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. And they also plan to keep playing the lottery, they said.

“If we could do this again — absolutely!” Carmen said.

After all, the Powerball prize that will be drawn Wednesday is at $250 million.

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