ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — Dennis Klaus and Mary Ann Daino won the lottery after they came to Connecticut to rebuild their lives after Superstorm Sandy. She lost her home on Staten Island, N.Y. He lost his in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“Connecticut took us in with open arms at hearts,” said Daino.
New Milford’s New Faith Church gave each of them a trailer for a year. Then, they leased a trailer together and continued to live in Gaylordsville. Nearly six months ago, they bought a lottery ticket and won.
Daino told Klaus they had won.
“I said, ‘get out of here, won what?'” said Klaus. “She said, ‘we got a winning ticket.’ I said, ‘what do you mean?'”
“He’s going, ‘no, you’re kidding, you’re kidding, really? You’re kidding. Really?'” said Daino. “I said, ‘yes Dennis, this is our home.'”
They put the ticket in a safety deposit box for safekeeping and cashed it in Monday.
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t owe the IRS any money or Wells Fargo,” said Daino.
The prize was more than $250,000 dollars. After taxes they’ll take home about $180,000.
“We don’t consider it money. We consider it a home. It’s a home,” said Klaus. “It’s not to be spent. It’s where we’re going to live together and start a new life.”
A new life for a couple who did not know each other at their worst, but over the past three years found each other, this ticket, and faith.
“You have to keep the faith because there is life afterwards and there’s a wonderful life waiting,” said Daino.
They plan to buy a house in New Milford.