Long Island contractor putting in 12-hour days making repairs
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/18/2012 -- Long Island plumber Tony Auriemma, one of the many building contractors who have been putting in extra-long hours helping residents of New York and the surrounding areas recover in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, won $1 million playing the New York Lottery.
Auriemma, a resident of Greenlawn, N.Y., won with a Color of Money scratch-off ticket that he purchased on November 18.
The 38-year-old plumber has been putting in 12-hour days, seven days per week since the storm damaged much of the Eastern Seaboard, helping residents of places like Oceanside reconnect their sewer lines and replacing damaged water heaters and boilers.
"They haven't had heat or hot water since the storm, and their lives are totally changed down there," Auriemma said. "It's bad."
Auriemma would not have even been around to purchase his winning ticket if not for his work related to the hurricane's aftermath. Usually, Auriemma would have left on his annual hunting trip if not for Hurricane Sandy.
Auriemma was introduced as the winner of the million-dollar price on December 6, along with his wife Jennifer and mother-in-law Frances Brauer at New York Lottery headquarters in Garden City. The Auriemmas and Brauer will split the prize, which amounts to approximately $16,000 apiece annually for 20 years.
"We scratched it off and started screaming," Tony Auriemma said. "We thought we won $100,000, and then my wife said, 'No, it's a million dollars!' And I said, 'Oh, my God!'"
Auriemma plans to continue working, despite his recent windfall. Many of his customers were surprised when they heard that.
"They were like, 'I can't believe you're still here?' And I was like, 'I want to make you happy,'" Auriemma said. "To see the smiles on their faces when I give them hot water and heat, it's like they won the million dollars."
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