It's official: Jack Murray is the luckiest man in Englewood, Florida.
Murray, a 43-year-old Rotonda West handyman, claimed an estimated $12 million Florida Lotto jackpot this week.
According to Florida Lottery officials, who made the announcement Wednesday, Murray chose to take his winnings in a one-time lump sum. That means he pocketed $7,616.592.95.
Murray bought the winning ticket at the Publix on Placida Road in Cape Haze Saturday afternoon, said Lillian Murray, Jack's mother. He chose his numbers using the birth dates of friends and family members, and had been playing them for years, she said
The winning combination was 09-11-16-22-44-52.
The newly wealthy Murray was keeping a low profile Wednesday. He was not home throughout the day and evening at the Rotonda West home he shares with his parents. His mother said he was a very private person.
However, lottery officials said in a press release that Murray told them he planned to buy a new boat, build a cabin, help his family and invest some of his new-found wealth.
Murray's neighbors and area residents responded with joy Wednesday to the news of his big score.
"Oh, my heaven, that's wonderful!" exclaimed Paulette Hemmings, who lives down the street from Murray's Medalist Court home. "Oh, my goodness, that's good."
"That's beautiful," Tony Hemmings said Wednesday. "Now he can sit back and enjoy. I'm very, very happy for him."
The Hemmings said Murray was a good neighbor who deserved his good fortune.
"He's a very nice guy," Tony Hemmings said. "Nice people, very nice guy."
Ron Kwiat, who also lives down the street from Murray, said he hadn't met Murray, but he was very happy for him regardless.
"I think it's wonderful," Kwiat said. "It's exciting to be in a neighborhood that somebody actually wins the lottery. That's really exciting."
Charles Palmer, another neighbor who also didn't know Murray personally, was still happy to hear about his winning.
"I've seen him. I don't really know him, but that's good," Palmer said. "That's great. That's nice."
Palmer said Murray had been living with his parents and roofing for a living of late.
Area residents who were visiting the Publix at Cape Haze, where Murray got his winning ticket, were also excited to hear a local had won the money.
"I'm awfully glad it's a local person," said Winnie Young of Rotonda. "I hope it was somebody needy and I hope he uses it wisely. I'm happy for him."
"God bless him," said Leslie DeBoer, another Rotonda resident. "I'm just glad that a hard-working person that needs it won."
"It's fantastic," said Shaun Gribben, the owner of Windswept Detailing, a Port Charlotte business. "That's good for a change. It's nice to see in Charlotte County."
Murray is the sixth person in Charlotte County to have won the Florida Lotto.
A Fort Myers resident working on Boca Grande Wednesday said he was glad a middle-class person had taken the prize.
"At least somebody that works hard, that actually needs the money won," Darren Adams said.
Murray had to take his winning ticket to Tallahassee for forensic examination before he could be declared a winner Monday.
"That's a trip I'd love to make," Gribben said. He was also getting lunch at the Publix where Murray purchased his $12-million-winning ticket.
According to the Florida lottery press release, Murray did have some public comment about his luck:
"I'm just so happy," he was quoted as saying. "God bless America."