Winning Brentwood Lottery’s grand prize of a new home couldn’t have come at a better time for a Wallaceburg woman.
Darlene Formosa had been out of work for a few years and said she had just been looking at her bank account thinking it was in awful shape.
Formosa started screaming and crying and collapsed on the floor when she heard she’d won a new Belle River home worth $474,487 or $380,000 in cash.
“It blew my mind. I was sitting on the floor crying. I couldn’t get it out of my mouth to my husband that I’d won,” the 56-year-old said in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon.
Her ticket was the 158th ticket drawn by hand Saturday afternoon at the Brentwood Recovery Home in Windsor. It’s the grand prize in the fundraiser that gives away $719,409 worth of cash and prizes including three vehicles and a new home built by community partner Lakepoint Homes.
A snowy morning may have decreased the crowd of more than 250 people that gathered to watch the live draw at noon but those in the room were eager to hear the winner of a new home on Summer Street in Belle River.
Formosa said she almost didn’t answer the phone. She didn’t recognize the name or number and even when Brentwood’s director of development Mark Lennox told her she had the winning ticket, she thought it was a scam. Then she realized it was real.
“I’ve never been so grateful in all my life. It’s one of those words I’ve been practicing for a year now, just to be grateful for everything and anything,” she said.
Formosa won big the first time she’d ever purchased Brentwood Lottery tickets online, three of them. She and her husband haven’t decided if they want to take the house valued at $474,487, sell it, or take the tax free cash prize of $380,000.
Brentwood expects to raise about $1 million through the lottery fundraiser that still has people hand pick each winning ticket. Organizers had a new stainless steel cylinder built for this year’s draw because the older wooden one was wearing out. The new cylinder had about 43,000 tickets in it Saturday and it could hold 60,000 tickets, Lennox said.
Tatiana Guerrero of Tecumseh was one of the people who lined up to help with the draw. She said she picked a ticket from the side of the barrel thinking those tickets weren’t getting drawn as much.
“That’s what I like. I know the ticket that I pulled, it’s for a person that won something.”
Brentwood Lottery had already called the winners of the three vehicles and posts a list of winners online.
The recovery home depends on its fundraisers including the annual lottery to run its programs, Lennox said. Brentwood has provincial funding for 12,000 residential live-in treatment days. The fundraising covers 20,000 additional live-in treatment days and family support, and gives the recovery home the shortest wait time in the province for residential treatment, Lennox said.
Last year more than 1,000 people in recovery and their families attended 53,000 meets or counselling sessions at no cost.