NEW YORK --At ground zero, the center of so much sorrow and pain, a group of construction workers have a reason to forget the snow and cold today. A dollar in a dream has never sounded more real for 18 men. They chipped in $5 dollars each and now they are among the latest winners in the Mega Millions lottery, winning a second place prize worth $250,000.
"I found out Christmas day. It was a nice Christmas present," says Micheal Perrone.The 18 men are from different trade unions working at the World Trade Center site. They joined a pool as the Mega Millions jackpot grew to a staggering $380 million, the second largest in Mega-Millions history. The workers let a machine pick their numbers: 15,16,27,40,52 and the Mega ball 18. The winning numbers ended up being almost exactly the same, except their Mega ball number was two digits off. They came thatclose to winning it all. Instead, a couple in Washington and someone in Idaho won the top prize. "Never get that close again. It's a once in a lifetime thing," said Jeff Meehan a construction worker. Still, by having all but one of the numbers the group ended up winning $250,000. After taxes, that means each one gets $9,170 each. "It helps me pay for my son's lift, because it is something he needs. He's 8 years old and in a wheelchair and it helps me," Michael Pezzuto a construction Worker explained. All of the men either lost loved ones on 9/11 or know people who continue to grieve from losses. Many of the guys have been working on rebuilding the World Trade Center since that fateful day. A win like this means a lot. "There is a lot of sadness down here for all the years we have all been here. This brings a little joy to people slaving away here and it definitely did that," Patrick Hickey, another construction worker, said. The guys say if they had hit the big jackpot they probably wouldn't have shown up for work today. They say they will continue playing the lottery on the chance they get lucky again.