A couple who survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is now getting a fresh start after winning the lottery.
Former New York residents Maryann Daino and Dennis Klaus, who relocated to New Milford in the aftermath of the storm, won a $255,555 top prize from the Connecticut Lottery’s “5 Card Cash” game.
The couple claimed their prize Monday at the CT Lottery’s headquarters in Rocky Hill.
“This is the beginning of a new story for us,” Daino said. “I handed Dennis the ticket and told him we won. He didn’t believe me at first, he thought I was kidding him. I said, ‘No, Dennis, I’m not kidding. This [prize] is our new home.’”
The couple told Eyewitness News in 2013 that they lost everything when Sandy struck Staten Island in 2012. Daino said she was literally washed down a street by raging seas.
“Finally I ended up in a tree and I was dead,” she said. “I was in shock.”
She and Klaus said they were two of about a dozen people who came to Connecticut to live in a village of mobile homes. A nonprofit group called the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, along with a New Milford church, teamed up to offer the homes.
Daino said the $2 ticket was purchased in October. It contained a perfect match for the symbols drawn on Oct. 12.
“We took our time claiming the prize,” Klaus explained. “We lost everything before and we didn’t want to lose everything again. We wanted to be careful, so we talked to an accountant and a lawyer first.”
The couple accepted a prize check of $174,544 after taxes.
“We’re leaving here and going straight to the bank to put an offer on a house. It’s the house of our dreams,” Daino said. “It’s important that people know you have to keep the faith because there is life afterwards, and there’s a wonderful life waiting.”
The winning ticket was bought at a Hess station in New Milford.
I’m happy for them, but that $175,000 (after taxes) isn’t going to go too far when it comes to purchasing and furnishing a home. But this gives them a very good start!