WARRENSBURG - On a trip to Binghamton last weekend, sisters Tracy Cheney and Melissa Barrett implored their deceased father, Don Cheney, to intervene on their behalf with the supreme heavenly powers and arrange for a sweepstakes win, Cheney recalled Monday.
"My sister and I said, 'Come on, Dad, give us the winning ticket!" Cheney said. An employee of Warrensburg Laundry, Cheney bought the ticket jointly with her sister and Mickey Monroe - another employee at the laundry.
The ticket was one of 200 sold for $100 apiece in the annual Church of the Holy Cross raffle, which has a $5,000 first-prize payoff, and three secondary $1,000 prizes.
When they were on their way home to Warrensburg, the sisters received a call on Cheney's cell phone from fellow employees at the Warrensburg Laundry, who had bought a total of four tickets. The fellow employees told them the good news the Cheneys and Monroe had won a $1,000 prize.
"My sister and I were very pleasantly surprised," Cheney said. The duo is sharing the winnings with Monroe. "We were hoping for the $5,000 - but I guess Dad didn't want us to be greedy."
Other winners of the secondary $1,000 prizes were Rick Galusha and a group of maintenance employees at Echo Lake Camp.
The top prize of $5,000 was won by eight of the Warrensburg firefighters - Bruce Belden; Gary "Wally" Ross; Sean, Kevin and Jonathan Geraghty; Paul Bederian; Rudy Squires and Dave Spatz.
The group had bought four tickets with each firefighter contributing $50, with the agreement the winnings would be split eight ways. The group has participated in this raffle in this manner for four years, Sean Geraghty said Monday.
He said that the winnings was like an "Obamanomics stimulus package" for Warrensburg.
"This year happened to be our year," he said. "I'm sure my friends have this cash already spent - You know, Christmas is coming!"