Bell Helicopter employees claim lotto winnings

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 5:39 PM

AUSTIN - A group of Bell Helicopter employees have taken home the biggest lottery  jackpot in Texas this year.

The 10 workers claimed the $28-million prize at a ceremony Friday in Austin.

The employees chose the lump-sum payment of $21 million, which after taxes, nets them $1.6 million each.

"My wife was in the bathroom putting in her contacts, and I'm yelling through the house, 'we won, we won the lottery! We're rich! We're rich!'" said Mario Mercado.

Mercado purchased the winning ticket as part of an office pool he had with his co-workers.

The 51-year-old Bell Helicopter dispatcher says he plans to keep his job, but his wife has already quit hers.

"The only job she is going to do is take care of me and my home, she's probably go back to school and become a financial advisor," Mercado joked.

The Fort Worth man called the last week stressful.

He hid the winning ticket in his wife's purse all week and says he needed anxiety medication to get over the stress he felt until he could receive the check.

The nine other winners have chosen not to release their names.

Mercado said the majority of them will also keep their jobs.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

Twitter: @craigcivale

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