Checks ticket, claims $96.6M jackpot... then tells wife
TOPEKA, Ks. — Donald Damon, 70, a lifelong resident of Great Bend, Kansas, Friday claimed the largest Powerball jackpot ever won in the state just one day after the drawing.
Damon was the sole winner of the $96.6 million Powerball jackpot drawn on Wednesday evening, Nov. 11. He was introduced to the public Friday in a news conference that was held at Lottery headquarters in Topeka.
The winning numbers drawn Wednesday were 8, 12, 14, 22, and 29, with Powerball number 22.
Damon claimed his winnings at the Kansas Lottery's Great Bend office yesterday, shortly after realizing he'd become a multi-millionaire.
"[Thursday], my daughter Karen told me that someone had won the Powerball jackpot in south central Kansas on Wednesday," said Damon. "She said that she knew she hadn't won on her ticket, so I asked her to check my ticket. "
When Karen checked the ticket on the Lottery's website it became a life-changing moment.
"I told Dad he matched the Powerball number and he jokingly said that he must be the winner," said Karen. "When we realized he did have the winning ticket, we were both shocked."
Damon and Karen immediately hopped in the car and drove to the Kansas Lottery's Great Bend office.
"I wasn't sure how much I'd won," the winner said. "I figured it was $15 million. When they said it was $96.6 million, I about fell over. I've been saying for years that I was going to win a Powerball jackpot someday."
Once the paperwork was completed at the Great Bend office, Damon called his wife Kathleen at work and told her she should come home.
"I work at the Senior Center and we were having our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday," said Kathleen. "I wasn't going to leave until my work was finished."
Kathleen not only works at the Senior Center in Great Bend, she also has two other jobs. She works at a beauty salon and at Central Kansas Medical Center.
"It will be nice not having to get up at 4 a.m. anymore," said Kathleen.
The winner purchased his lucky $1 Quick Pick ticket at Dillons 51, located at 4107 10th St. in Great Bend. For selling a jackpot-winning ticket, Dillons 51 will receive a $10,000 selling bonus from the Kansas Lottery.
Damon had the choice of taking the annuity option of $96.6 million, which is paid in 30 payments over 29 years; or the cash option of $48.3 million, which is paid in one lump sum. He has decided to take the cash option. After taxes he will receive a check for $33,857,130.35.
Hopefully his wife was OK with the decision.
Now that he's a multi-millionaire, Damon plans to help a few local churches with a portion of his prize money. He also said he wanted to take his grandson Brendon to Las Vegas for his 21st birthday. Otherwise, he was undecided how he'd spend his winnings.
Kansas players have now won 10 Powerball jackpots. Kansas has also had eight Lotto America jackpot winners. Powerball replaced Lotto America in 1992. In addition, four Kansas players have each won Hot Lotto jackpots.
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Thanks to Stephanie for the tip.