Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wade Bates, one of our KFIZ on-air personalities, asked me while we were standing in front of Ma & Pa's on South Main Street in Fond du Lac if I'd ever covered anything like it? He was referring to the group of "100 Miracles" or 100 Sargento Foods employees celebrating their $208.6 million Powerball jackpot win. Course not. I've never been part of reporting any such event. But pardon the pun, I feel lucky I was able to do that.
There were some good stories to come out of it. Like winner Mary Entringer who said she and her husband have children who could have used some of the winnings to make their own lives easier. However Mary said her kids told them no, use the money to buy the Lake home up north that you've always wanted.
The money may not be a blessing for everyone. One person told me about a couple she knows who have a son that's one of the winners. He has had past problems with drugs and alcohol and they aren't sure what kinds of temptations that money may put in front of him.
Sargento Foods helped out those lucky employees by providing a financial consultant to aid them in making decisions about their winnings. The employees returned the favor when most of them decided to keep their second shift jobs at the cheese factory in Plymouth.
Fond du Lac City officials were overjoyed for the national exposure. Phil Moses of Ma & Pa's rightly said that exposure was their own version of a lottery win because people will continue to buy lottery tickets from them well into the future hoping the "Miracle Mile" will give them a big win.
The event was staged under several big awnings that slightly resembled a circus tent, which had me wondering if what I was covering could be termed a "media circus?" There were reporters from across the country attending the happening.
I never knew the lottery had so many people working for them. They kept the winners focused and until they were ready the media at bay. The United Way sold brats, Sargento had samples of their cheese, the lottery had their own booth. It, like the win, was a one of a kind event.
A day after the event someone said to me it would be interesting to visit with the winners in five years and see what came of them. Instant wealth can change anyone's life. Those "100 Miracles" have a chance to change their lives in positive ways. Hopefully Dame Fortune will continue to have something good in mind for them.