What do you do when you win $2 million dollars? If you're Bob and Pam Baker, of Telford, you go camping.
“We already had plans to go camping,” Pam Baker said. “And we needed to get out of town. We didn't sleep or eat much that weekend.”
Pam Baker, owner of Baker Office Management Services, bought a five-number winning Powerball ticket last month. Typically, matching five numbers is a $1 million win, but because Baker paid an extra $1 for the Powerplay, the prize money was doubled.
“That's certainly the best dollar I ever invested,” she joked. “Usually I only play the Powerball when it's over $100 million. I was on my way to visit my mother when I stopped at the Souderton Food Mart, which I've never done before. And usually I play my children's birthdays, but I was in a rush so I played random numbers.”
Baker said her initial reaction to winning was disbelief and skepticism.
“I saw that I matched five numbers and I couldn't believe it,” she said. “I printed out the winning numbers online and made Bob look at it.”
Her husband, Bob Baker, a member of the Telford Borough Council, said he thought it had to be a mistake.
“When we saw that she had all five numbers, I told her to make sure it was the right date,” he said. “It was.”
As the initial shock wore off, the following few weeks were surreal, Pam Baker said.
The Bakers immediately called their lawyer to figure out the necessary steps to verify the ticket. And they had to tell their children, both of whom are married and live in Texas.
Stephanie Bogus, the Bakers’ daughter, said her parents sent an email to their children and spouses requesting an emergency Skype session.
“My mom couldn't get the webcam to work, so Skype brought up this automatic image of a sad white kitten,” she said. “Then that sad cat told us she just won $2 million.”
Bob and Pam Baker decided to wait until their children could fly home to Telford from Texas and claim the ticket as a group.
“This is a gift,” Pam Baker said. “It's meant to be shared. It's not enough to retire on, and we're not going to totally change our lives. We're going to continue to live modestly. I see no reason to change. We're just going to have some security, invest it and maybe retire at 62.”
The Bakers' children, Andrew and Stephanie, will also be able to use the money to start saving and find financial stability. Both own businesses in Texas.
“When you own your own business, you get no security,” Stephanie's husband, Brad Bogus, said. “Now we'll be able to be debt-free in our 30s and start saving for our children's college education.”
Stephanie and Brad Bogus own an online marketing company called Speak Social, and Andrew Baker owns Abstract Media, a visual marketing company.
“Businesses require a lot more money, so putting the lottery money toward the company wouldn't make a big impact,” Brad Bogus said. “And we want our companies to succeed because we worked hard, not because we won the lottery.”
Although the family plans to save and invest most of the winnings - after paying off loans - they admitted each of them has one big item they plan to buy.
“Andrew and I are blind as bats,” Stephanie Bogus said. “So we're going to get LASIK eye surgery. I know it's not the sexiest option, but we're excited.”
Brad Bogus plans to buy a drum set, and Andrew Baker's wife, Jessica said she wants to buy a new car.
“I'm getting a mommy mobile,” she said.
“And I've already started looking at motorcycles,” Bob Baker said.
Pam Baker said she will never fly coach to Texas again.
“I'm sitting first class. Bob can stay in coach,” she joked.
The Bakers, who have been married for 32 years, have lived in the same house in Telford for 28 years.
“We love the area and we're all about keeping it local,” Pam Baker said. “We're very passionate about this area.”
“My parents couldn't be more deserving people of this gift,” Stephanie Bogus said. “They're leaders in this community and such generous parents. They're good, honest people. Andrew and I have been joking that mom and dad gave us the gift of life, and now they're giving us the gift of having a life.”
Brad Bogus said he and Jessica are the truly lucky ones.
“Jessica and I won the lottery twice,” he said. “The first time was when we got Bob and Pam as our in-laws. I'm just amazed by these people.”
With a $2 million win in the books, will Pam Baker buy another lottery ticket?
“I already have,” she said.