For years, Darla and Roger Sauer have quietly worked in the background to help with Relay for Life and to assist others in the fight against cancer.
On Saturday, good fortune repaid the local couple with the winning numbers for the $3.6 million Washington Lotto jackpot.
The Sauers have played the same numbers every week — 7-8-12-19-29-38 — and have been doing so since the state started the game in 1984. Roger bought the winning ticket at the 7-Eleven on Olympic Highway in Central Park, where he buys tickets every Thursday.
It took five days before Roger realized they had the winning ticket when he went to scan it on the way to work this Thursday.
“He stopped in Montesano to check his ticket at the Chevron Station and it showed he had won some money and he needed to take it to the Lottery office (in Olympia),” Darla said. “He went out to the car and signed the ticket and filled out the back of it and then went up to the PJ Market in Montesano and checked it again just to make sure.”
When he then contacted Darla, Roger still didn’t let on that he had the winning numbers.
“He said somebody in Aberdeen had the winning ticket and he wanted to know if I wanted to see it,” she said.
Roger is a retired meat cutter who went back to college and is now a high school English teacher in Elma and Darla works at Montesano Health and Rehab and is a committee member for the East Grays Harbor County Relay for Life and active on the Relay regional council for the American Cancer Society. They have been married since 1974.
The Sauers plan to build a new home on land they inherited.
Darla Sauer’s Facebook page was bustling with congratulatory messages, which prompted her heartfelt response: “The friends that we have can’t compare to the winnings, because now we feel like we had already won the lotto!”
Another post added: “We are really excited. Gonna do some giving, helping with grandkids education funds and we are building a house!!!!”
Lottery spokesman Arlen Harris said the Sauers expressed plans to give a share of the winnings to the American Cancer Society.
“They are just wonderful people,” he said.
Harris said the couple have said they will likely take a lump-sum payout, which is about half of the full jackpot, which would have been paid out over time in an annuity.