A relative of the legendary leader of the Flying Tigers (the U.S. volunteers who helped the Chinese Air Force in the pre-Pearl Harbor days of World War II) has led a group of retired friends to a $10,004 Mega Millions victory.
The six retirees gather daily for conversation and camaraderie at Dunkin’ Donuts in Centreville. Their Lottery leader is Mitchell Paul “Mike” Schinault of Centreville, who coordinates the group’s regular pool purchases of Mega Millions tickets. Mike’s relation to the Flying Tigers’ Gen. Claire Lee Chennault: “He was my grandfather’s cousin. They spell our name three different ways.”
The friends have gathered at the Queen Anne’s County restaurant for several hours a day for years. Raymond Tombs of Centreville, who joined the group about a year ago, credits Mike with keeping the jackpot chasers on track.
“It’s fun,” Mike said. Group discussions sometimes center on what they would do if they won a life-changing jackpot!
On Aug. 27, the group’s fearless leader bought a $10 quick-pick ticket at Centreville’s Hillside Market and Liquors. The store is located at 2640 Centreville Road in the Eastern Shore town. The next day, to their surprise, the group hit the Mega Ball plus four of the five regular balls for a $10,000 prize. On a second line, they scored a $4 win.
The group has won small amounts in the past, so the $10,000 win came as a big surprise. The $4 prize was a nice addition. “One week we won $14. It was the highlight for a while,” Mike recalled.
The happy group plans to continue playing Mega Millions and daydreaming about what a jackpot win. That could happen tonight; the jackpot is set for $252 million for the Sept. 18 drawing with a cash option of $148.6 million.