C Last January, Naval reservist Sharon A. Taylor got a letter ordering her to report for active duty in Operation Desert Storm.
Before she knew it, she was 85 miles from the Kuwaiti border, working as a hospital corpsman at Fleet Hospital 20, at the Persian Gulf port of Al Jubayl in Saudi Arabia.
She made it back to the States late in April, and her luck has been improving ever since.
On Wednesday night, Taylor, 41, and Sgt. 1st Class Francis K. Rogers, 38, discovered that one of the 20 sets of Lotto numbers they bought jointly this week at a Brooklyn Park liquor store was worth nearly $6 million.
Each will receive 20 annual payments of about $147,000, before taxes, lottery officials said. The federal government will withhold 20 percent. The state will keep 7.5 percent.
Taylor and Rogers have been friends and joint lottery players since they began working together for a recruiting unit in Connecticut 3 1/2 years ago. They were transferred to Fort Meade three months ago. Rogers will be transferred again, to Harrisburg, Pa., later this month.
"We just always combined funds and purchased tickets collectively," Rogers said. "We always split it right down the middle."
They estimated they've bet $4,000 to $5,000 on lotteries in the past three years. Until now though, Taylor said, their winnings were "just small amounts, never anything substantial."
Taylor, of Severn, now works as a civilian marketing representative for the 1st Recruiting Brigade at Fort Meade, where Rogers is a personnel sergeant.
Taylor said she plans no abrupt changes in her life.
"I'll probably still shop at Caldor and K-mart," she said.
She has no credit card balances to pay off, she said, because "my parents always paid cash for things. Money was not come by that easily."
As for a new car, Taylor said, "I kind of like my Nissan truck, but I might get a paint job; it needs one."
She does plan a trip with friends to Atlantic City 2 1/2 weeks from now. She'll risk some of her money at craps, roulette and blackjack. But that's a trip planned long before she won the Maryland Lotto.
Taylor, a native of Wenatchee, Wash., plans to remain in the Naval Reserves until she can retire 11 months from now. She spent 12 years on active duty and has been a reservist for 10 years.
After that, she may pursue an old dream of becoming a doctor.
"That was my first love," she said. "But I always made excuses for why I couldn't do it."
Rogers, a Havre de Grace native who later moved to South Baltimore and attended Southern High School, now lives in Brooklyn Park.
"I bought a house in August, so I'm going to pay off the mortgage," she said. As for the rest, "I'm going to put it in the bank and go on with life."
The winning Lotto numbers drawn Wednesday night were 10, 13, 14, 24, 26 and 27.
There were 34 tickets sold matching five of the six winning numbers. Each of those tickets is worth $1,363. Another 2,314 tickets matching four of the six are worth $34 each, lottery officials said.