Lilliana Roman of Manchester is surrounded by friends and co-workers after receiving a check for $25,000 in the Save Your Refund Sweepstakes. From left: Laureen Caron; Roman; Denise Batchelder, and Charles Caron. (DAVE SOLOMON/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER ­— Lilliana Roman sat stoically in the front row of the audience in the aldermen’s chambers Monday afternoon at Manchester City Hall, surrounded by friends, as a series of dignitaries congratulated her on being the national prize winner in a drawing designed to encourage taxpayers to save some of their tax return.

When it was her turn to speak, with a giant check for $25,000 in hand, she fought back tears as she thanked the volunteer tax preparers and others who’d made it possible for her to obtain her full tax refund, save some of it for a rainy day, and enter a drawing that netted her the top prize.

The 29-year-old single mother was holding more than just a oversized check replica. She was holding what she hopes will be her ticket out of an East Side apartment and into a new home for her two boys and a girl, ages 12, 8 and 5…

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