Stories from Bay Treasure Chest Winners
Marlene Lane says she thought she was in trouble when she got the call from BTCA volunteer Heather Cochrane late afternoon on October 30. “I’ve never won anything; I thought maybe I wasn’t playing correctly… I was flabbergasted!” Marlene won $12,753 when her number 12621 was drawn. “My husband got me playing,” says the Hatchet Lake resident. “Everybody plays,” Bob told me. And, of course, beyond playing, there’s a chance you could actually win.
In short order, Marlene and Bob went to the Whale’s Back Country Store in Indian Harbour to collect the cheque. “Marlene took a look at me, gave me a hug, and said thank you” says Heather Cochrane. “I must have had the I-have-a$12,000-cheque-for-you look.” Heather and the Lanes chatted for some 30 to 40 minutes, as you do in a country store, before going their separate ways. Marlene and Bob went to Marlene’s sister’s. “I called her and said, ‘I have a surprise,’ but didn’t tell her what it was. We picked up a bottle of wine on the way to celebrate.
“The timing is really great; it’s a nice bonus given we are on a fixed income. My sister, husband and I had said we weren’t going to buy each other Christmas gifts this year… well, that may change.”
BTC volunteer Fred Dolbel called Sharon Power of Hubbards on October 23 to tell her she was a winner. Says Fred: “It’s always a delight when they realize, ‘Hey, it’s me who just won the $25,000+!!”’
Sharon plays three BTC numbers every week; she played two of the three at Hubbards Pharmasave on Tuesday but she had only two toonies. On the Wednesday morning of the draw, Sharon and her husband, Gary, were on their way to Halifax and stopped at Delish Fine Foods, in Upper Tantallon, to play that last toonie… the winning number 6525, providing a jackpot of $25,618.
The couple says they will save some, spend some and share some.
Patsy Thorne describes her win on October 9 as “out of this world!” She and her husband, Henry, were driving, having just left bowling when the call came in. They pulled over to the side of the road; Henry called the number back, and BTC volunteer Harry Ward asked to speak to Patsy. So much intrigue, with excitement to follow: Patsy’s number BTC 19566 had been drawn that day… was she available to pick up a cheque for $39,397?
“The kids got some money, and we are looking to buy a car,” says Patsy, who lives in Halifax. “We lived in Timberlea for 43 years,” she says, adding that they were active in the church—though eventually it was sold—and the community. “Knights of Columbus, bowling, played cards at Lakeside Fire Hall… Our son and daughter, and two of three grandchildren, live there. We still think of it as home.”
On September 18, Tiffany Hamilton won $12,557 when her number 26213 was drawn. The Hubbards resident says her boyfriend, Greg, played her number for her that morning while she was at work. “I was just sitting on the step at home when I got the call that afternoon,” she says. “And then I was dancing in the street!”
Floyd Spicer was driving a tour bus when he took the call telling him he was a Bay Treasure Chest winner on September 11 after his number 31290 was drawn. “I was stopped at the bridge…. I had seen where the caller had tried to contact me earlier so I thought I can answer really quickly and see who it is.”
“Are you sitting down,” the voice on the other end of the phone asked. “Well, yes, as a matter of fact I am,” he answered.
One of the people on the bus asked what happened: “Did you win the lottery?”
“Pretty much,” said Floyd.
Within half an hour he was heading to Hammonds Plains, where he lives, to meet BTC volunteer Harry Ward to receive his cheque.
Floyd’s partner played for him that week. If she hadn’t, he wouldn’t have won. “But I was generous,” he says. “I gave Jo-Ann a toonie to pay for the play!”
Floyd and Jo-Ann both started playing just two weeks prior to his win. “We were out to dinner with friends at Lefty’s and they were putting their toonies in the chest,” Floyd says. “They told us we should play, so we did. We called them after the win…. And offered to take them out to dinner, maybe Lefty’s again, to thank them for suggesting it!”
Still, joking aside, he says he appreciates the fundraising aspect of Bay Treasure Chest. “One of the reasons we joined is because of all the community organizations it supports. I’m past president of the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame, and know it’s a hard job to raise money.”
Patty Longard, of Tantallon, is shown here with her son, Austin. We were not able to contact her before we sent out the Wednesday night draw results (turns out we had an old phone number for her in our records) that had only identified the number drawn; she got the email, as did family and friends who recognized her BTC number. “It’s been an exciting night,” she said when we finally got in touch.
When asked if she had an idea how she might spend the $25,060 there was no hesitation. “That’s easy,” she said. “We’re building a house on Whynachts Point, and are creating a basement apartment for Austin to live in. He’s just come back from college, has a job and needs a place to live. The money is going into his apartment.”
It still hasn’t sunk in, she said a couple of weeks later. “My dad would’ve been so happy to see this. He passed away in February (2) and his birthday was June 29 (6) (29). This is the number that won: 2629.
Laura Sadler and her seven-year-old son Cohen (who just wanted to come along for the photo, she says) are excited about a new puppy. “Our 13-year-old pug died in July… we are getting a pug puppy soon,” says Laura, who lives in Hammonds Plains. What else will she do with her winnings of $12,078? “A family vacation,” she says. “We usually play our toonies last-minute on Wednesday morning….” Apparently the early bird doesn’t always get the worm.
When Bay Treasure Chest volunteer Fred Dolbel contacted Vicki Gillis she had just gone to her cottage in Pugwash to do repairs for two weeks. “This money will certainly come in handy to use on the repairs,” she said.
Vicki moved to the Stillwater Lake area early this year; her cousin Kerry insisted that she “play the Treasure Chest as it gives back to the community.”
So Vicki eventually registered a BTC number, 30602. Lo and behold she had beginner’s luck, winning the jackpot of $12,298 on July 31—just the third time she had played!
When she was informed of her win, Vicki’s reply was “I’ve never won anything like this before.” Congratulations!
On July 24 Henry Thorne won $12,200 when his Bay Treasure Chest number 19567 was drawn. “Lived in Timberlea for 43 years and moved 10 years ago,” says Henry, now of Halifax. “Always love to support our community,” he adds. “We will give some money to our grandchildren and children, and use the rest to enjoy retirement.”
“Holy cow. Way to go, guys,” read one of the Facebook posts after seeing the photo of him and his wife, Patsy, with the BTC cheque posted online. “Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Thorne. Enjoy your retirement,” read another.
“Congratulations to the two of you on behalf of the coffee gang at Tim’s,” said another. The outpouring of support continued.
“Bay Treasure Chest players are good sports,” noted a volunteer. “Although no doubt disappointed when they don’t win, they are nevertheless quick to congratulate the person who did win.”
“Well deserved! Great to see local people winning this,” wrote Iain Rankin, MLA for Timberlea-Prospect. Does it matter that Henry now lives in the city? Apparently not. Once a local, always a local.
Lorna Riley of Timberlea won $12,341 on July 17th. “I felt like crying when I got the news,” she said. “This helps a lot.”
It was Michele’s daughter Amanda who first became a Bay Treasure Chest player; she then registered a number for her mother, and got her Gran involved as well. Amanda says it is a fun thing they do. They get together and mark their stickers, then place them onto the toonies; Amanda plays them.
Amanda’s encouragement has paid off for her Mom, who of course was thrilled when notified and still very happy yesterday when she got her cheque. She says she needs to figure out what to do with her winnings. When Shelley Glover (shown right), of Redmond’s — and also a regular Bay Treasure Chest volunteer — presented the cheque to Michele, she reminded her to buy something nice for herself!
Vern Webber won $12,339 on July 3rd. Vern, who lives in Mineville, has been a Purolator courier for years all around St. Margaret’s Bay; his regular route now runs through Hammonds Plains, Tantallon and over to Ingramport. He fills up with gas at Sobeys Express on Hammonds Plains twice a week, and plays his toonies there.
As Vern travelled around the Bay each week he kept hearing about how much the BTC does for the community, so he decided to register a number for his sister and himself. He’s happy to support the community; he’s also happy to win.
Cailin O’Neil of Black Point, who won $25,620 with her number 21929 on June 26, is a travel writer. “I’m planning possibly a trip to Japan — I’ve been trying to go there. I’m also going to give some money to my parents and my sister, because I play with them. Maybe I’ll even pay off credit cards and have some nice meals. Who knows?”
On June 12, Doug O’Toole Jr, from Upper Tantallon, won $39,215 when his number 3959 was drawn. Doug, who has been playing BTC for five years, says his Mom generally plays his toonie and those of his sister and brother at Redmond’s. As a carpenter, he says, “the wet spring has held up my out-of-doors work and made some of the pay cheques a bit skinny… This could not come at a better time!” He remains happily unsure what specifically he might do with his winnings.
Jamie Bailey of Hubley says he thought he was going to pass out when heard over the phone from BTC’s Gwen Colman that he won; when he picked up the cheque at Redmond’s later the same day, he had to sit down again. Although he will pay bills with some of the winnings, he’s happy to give his son a great birthday when he turns 14 tomorrow, he says…. He also plans to help out some friends and take a trip. Congrats and bon voyage!
Upon finding out he was a winner, Gordon Price, of Hubley, exclaimed, “Oh! Too good to be true. I often wondered if Bay Treasure Chest even had my information… I know now.” His wife forgot her phone at home the day he won so he was unable to let her know the good news right away. “We have to discuss where the money will go,” Gordon says. “There’s windows and doors that need to be replaced; we may put an amount on the mortgage.”
Jamie Amirault, of Black Point, was at work when he got the BTC call late in the afternoon of April 17. “I was pretty much done for the day at that point,” he says, chuckling.
His girlfriend, Alyssa Moar, played his toonie for him that week. “She always says, ‘Don’t forget to play… that’s when your number will be drawn!'”
While he seemed surprised to win, he had a ready answer when asked how he will spend his winnings: “We’ve got a sick cat, Spinnaker, at the vet right now, so it will help with that bill.
“We’re also house shopping—some will go towards the down payment.”
Since then, two weeks later, Jamie and Alyssa have had an offer accepted on their first house, in Indian Point. “We were eyeing a place, thinking about maybe making an offer, and then winning BTC kind of put us over the edge,” he says. “We now close on June 7.”
As for Spinnaker? “He’s recovering,” says Jamie. “We’re expecting to hear any day now that we’ll be able to take him home. Our thanks go to St. Margaret’s Bay Animal Hospital for all its good care.”
On hearing she won, Darlene Pentz of Hammonds Plains, said, “WOW! isn’t that wonderful! I’ve played my number every week… well, my neighbour has been playing it for me for a while now every week, since she is already out and about.
“I have a big car repair bill, and last year the roof and chimney needed work, so the money is already spent!”
Still, she planned to share some of her winnings with her son and daughter-in-law. “He told me I didn’t have to do that, and I said, ‘Yes, I know that; but I want to.’ I’ll also take a few people out for dinner.”
The last time Darlene won anything she was nine years old. “It was at a tea sale … My mom made me play. They had a boy’s and a girl’s prize. I won the boy’s prize and my mom said I could give it to my little brother.”
“I’ve been a volunteer all my life,” she says. “I first started when I was 16 as a Big Sister.
Bay Treasure Chest is the only lottery Darlene plays. “It’s a good lotto for the community… I especially appreciate the services for seniors,” she says, referring to the programs offered by the Seniors Association and BayRides. “We live so much longer now. Depending on your circumstances things can start to be a little bit tight.”
“I’m not a saint but I do try to support my community and help other people out. I am very fortunate because I have good health… that’s a gift I have,” says the retired ICU nurse. Your health is the most important thing you have, not money… though money helps to keep a roof over your head, and make things a little more enjoyable maybe.”
Winner Kelli Swinimer, of Lakeside, shares the number 10030 with a friend, Kim Ingram, of Sackville. What will she do with $6,213? “Yesterday was my birthday,” she says, “so I might treat myself!” Part of her treat may very well involve going to Toronto to visit with her daughter. Congrats Kelli and Kim!
Sandra Cowie, whose Bay Treasure Chest number 16644 was drawn on March 27, says she’s been playing faithfully every week for the last few years. Still, the Timberlea resident says she didn’t expect to win.
“We were at home when the call came in… I thought someone was putting me on.” She then called one of her sons who lives in the same subdivision. “My granddaughters wanted to come with me to pick up the cheque, to see if it was real,” she says chuckling.
It was real, and Sandra took home a tidy sum of $52,378 for her trouble.
“Can you believe it,” she asks? I can’t… still can’t.”
The inevitable money question: what will she do with her windfall?
“It’s going fast!” she says. “I’m sharing it with the family. It’ll come in handy to pay off some bills. I never win anything, not big-time like that.
“I’m going through medical treatments so I’m not going away anywhere right now, but I might do something when I feel better.”
“We got home and there was a message on the phone,” says the Hacketts Cove resident. “I’m a contractor; the wife listened to it and thought it was someone looking for work to be done. Then she thought about it and thought, no… next our son texted us and said, ‘Did Dad win the Treasure Chest?’
“We put two and two together, called back and found out we won.”
His wife, Beth, plays weekly for a few people, including Phillip. “Good thing I got picked,” he says, laughing.
“We gave a little money to the kids, and are holding on to the rest for future things,” he says. Perhaps following a contractor’s creed to “measure twice, cut once,” Phillip says he doesn’t rush into anything… “but I can tell you the money won’t be wasted,” he adds.
Part of the appeal of the Bay Treasure Chest for Phillip is that you know some of the people who win: “I know four or five people in our little village alone,” he says. “It’s a great thing.”
On February 14, Jillian Dube of Timberlea won $49,048 with her Bay Treasure Chest number 11286. Although it’s the biggest win to date in BTC’s nearly five-year history, Jillian is actually taking home only half that—or $24,524—in this 50-50 community lottery.
The other $24,524 is going to her mom, Marlene Dube.
“About two years ago as we were each playing our numbers I said, ‘You know, this is crazy,’” says Marlene. “Why don’t I play the two numbers this week and you play them the next, and if we win, we will share.”
Back then the top prize was about $10,000, says Marlene. “I thought, winning $5,000 would be a ‘wow’… The prizes have got so big so fast!”
For the winning week it was Marlene’s turn to play. “She couldn’t find any toonies so she went out to her car and found two,” says Jill, who was at work when she got the call.
“I actually thought Bay Treasure Chest was calling me about volunteering,” she says chuckling.
“One of my co-workers said to our boss, ‘Jill has to leave early… She has 49,000 reasons to leave early!’ But I stuck out my shift. Of course, I’m not going to quit my job or do anything rash like that.”
Marlene says they’re both going to spend the money on things around the house. “We’re going to treat ourselves to something fun. I moved to Timberlea in 1990, the year Jill was born, and she recently bought a duplex in Timberlea. So she’s close; we’re close.
“We play our numbers religiously, and always say, ‘Maybe this is our week to win.’ But we never thought this would happen! That was our Valentine’s Day, which was pretty special: lots of love. It was exciting.”
Coincidentally, Dad and Hubby, Ray Dube just registered a Bay Treasure Chest number the same week that Mom and Daughter won. “We’ll see,” says Marlene. “He’s not the type that will play every week. Still, we’ll take him out for a burger and beer with our winnings.”
When Roxanne Schnare and her husband, Wade, of Chester, were driving by Hubbards Pharmasave on January 16, she says to him: “Did Devon play our toonie for today?”
Roxanne shares Bay Treasure Chest number 24791, with her 21-year-old son, Devon.
Little did she know that she would get her answer in a late afternoon phone call from Treasure Chest volunteer Fred Dolbel, telling her that she won $34,557!
“Devon works down at Louisiana Pacific and I work at Shoreham. When he brings my coffee over he’ll say, ‘Mom, I’m going down to play our toonies.’ That’s the way it usually happens, either on a Friday or a Sunday.
“He didn’t tell me this time, so when I went to an appointment that day I was like, did he or didn’t he play.”
Does Roxanne consider herself a lucky person? “I’m going to tell you something,” she says. “My son likes tattoos; I don’t know how many he already has.
“At Christmas I asked him, ‘What do you want, Devon.’
“‘Maybe a tattoo,’ he says.
“So I tell him, ‘You can get a tattoo but you have to get an elephant with its trunk facing up… that’ll bring us luck.’ And so that’s what he got.”
Ever since that, Roxanne says, they’ve been on a winning streak. “I go to bingo, and in December I was winning all the time–dribs and drabs of money, a 55-inch TV … and then in January we hit it big [with Bay Treasure Chest].
While Mom and son shared the winning number, after the win Devon also got his own number. “Mom, I’m getting my own number just in case I get the luck again,” he says. “I’ll give ya some if I win, but it will be my number.”
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