A Wood County man who was the West Virginia Lottery's first jackpot winner received his last of 20 payments on Wednesday.
Russell Husk, a private man who doesn't do interviews, was a a 24-year-old maintenance worker for a Parkersburg restaurant when he won $3.74 million on March 20, 1986. He won the money after spinning the lottery wheel on the weekly televised Grand Prize Show.
The lottery at that time only offered instant tickets and spinning the wheel was how players could win jackpots. Husk had bought a $100 winning ticket, which made him eligible for weekly drawings to appear on the TV show.
Lottery Director John Musgrave said that after taxes, each of Husk's 20 prize payments were $128,095. He noted that in the show's two-year run, 764 finalists took home $25 million and more than $18 million was paid to 14 jackpot winners.
"It's been a blessing,'' Husk said. ''I won it on spring day, the first day of spring. On hindsight, that meant something. It was a new life for me. A good life. I've been able to focus on raising my kids the way I want to.
''To raise children right, you have to spend time with them, instill good moral values, how to treat others. If I had worked in the plants, I wouldn't have had a life. My free time would have been spent sleeping,'' he said. ''As it is, I was also able to help my parents, who have since passed. My nine sisters and brothers and I are very close. We all live in the Parkersburg area and get our families together at holidays."
One of 10 children, Husk 20 years ago told reporters he planned on helping his parents and his first purchase was a new Camaro. His first donation other than to the church was to the West Virginia University hospital for children.
Husk and his wife, Lori, the teller at his bank he married, have a 16-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son.
Husk, who had received a degree in business from Mountain State Business College, quit his job at the restaurant when he won. He ran a greeting card shop for two years, a construction company for seven and worked construction for 15 years.
He is getting a degree in computer information technology at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.