Glenn Theriault hugs his fiancee, Stephanie Lemieux, Saturday morning in front of Food City in Turner where they purchased a $1 million scratch ticket. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Though 2020 started out with a whimper for a hardworking and generous Turner couple, it had a million-dollar ending.

Their luck began to change after the loss of their beloved dog, Baxter, in the spring. “He was like our child and meant the world to us, especially since we were told I could never have children,” Stephanie Lemieux said Saturday morning outside the Food City grocery store in Turner where they purchased a $1 million lottery ticket three days earlier.

“Letting go was one of the hardest things we ever had to do but it was time and Baxter seemed to know it,” Glenn Theriault, Lemieux’s fiancée, said as the couple recounted the past year leading up to their big win.

“Our luck seemed to instantly change after that awful day when we said goodbye” to the 13-year-old chocolate lab.

Even with COVID shutting down businesses and people struggling, everything started to fall into place and great things began to happen for them.

“Our business was doing really well and we were expanding while many people were closing down,” Lemieux said. “And then I found out I was pregnant after believing I couldn’t.”

The couple live a few miles from the grocery store and stop in several times a week, often purchasing lottery tickets. They usually buy several at a time, often to give away to their employees.

“We save up our winners and cash them in all at once and then buy a bunch more,” Theriault said. “I figured we might get lucky one of these days and hit a big one. How’d that work out?” he said with a hearty laugh.

The $1 million scratch ticket Stephanie Lemieux and her fiance purchased Saturday in Turner is posted on Facebook. Submitted photo

First thing Dec. 29, they went to the store and bought 25 $25 tickets.

At home in their recliners, they divided the stack.

“There’s gotta be a big one in here,” Theriault said he told himself at the time.

Lemieux won $50 on one and Theraiult had a couple $30 winners.

When he got to the 11th ticket in his stack, he said, “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and it took a second for it to sink in. I did a big karate chop on the arm of the recliner and yelled ‘I can’t believe it’ and jumped up.”

Lemieux said, “He jumped up and did a dance. I didn’t believe him and snatched it out of his hands to see for myself.”

After gathering their faculties, they broke out the top-shelf tequila and called a relative, who thought they were joking. They assured him it was real.

After some calls and online research online, they noticed one of the four million-dollar winners had just been sold, so they called the state lottery office to make an appointment to cash it in. After taking a photo of the ticket, they took it straight to the bank and dropped into a safety deposit box.

“We had to get it safe, he was biting his fingers off he was so nervous about it,” Lemieux said.

Afterward, they returned to Food City to give $1,000 each to the manager and clerk who helped them that day.

“They were in shock and couldn’t believe it,” Lemieux said. “The cashier began to cry and couldn’t speak.  It was such a great feeling.”

The next day they posted the photo and story on Facebook. A few hours later, Lemieux went to Roopers to get more tequila for a New Year’s celebration that would be like no other.

“Thank goodness I was wearing a mask because the guy at the counter was talking with a customer and looking at my Facebook post and debating if the ticket was real or not,” she said. “I pulled the mask up a little higher and giggled to myself but didn’t want the attention.”

They’ve done a lot of thinking and dreaming about what to do with the windfall of about $710,000, the amount after 29% is deducted for taxes.

“We were looking at some small properties in Rangeley for when we retire,” Theriault said. “We are also building a new facility for our business and can pay a good chunk of that off. I think we’ll step that retirement plan up a bit and buy a bigger camp … and some snowmobiles … or ATVs … or both,” he said with a giant grin.


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