You can go a lot of places with $89 million, including the Shoney's in Fitzgerald.
On Wednesday, Staff Sgt. Stephen Tirrell Moore became the largest jackpot winner in state history when his ticket matched all six numbers for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing for a $150 million prize. The 30-year-old soldier picked the cash option -- worth $88.9 million before taxes.
Moore, on a 30-day leave from his duties in South Korea, publicly announced his lottery windfall Thursday at the restaurant in the small South Georgia town before a small group of family and friends.
He seemed unfazed by his new wealth, but his mother, Annette Moore, was visibly excited.
"All I know is that God done showed up and shelled out," Annette Moore, 47, said.
Moore said his immediate plans, other than retiring, are for a second wedding so he and his wife can renew vows made eight years ago before a justice of the peace.
Moore said he plans to refurbish the modest Fitzgerald family home where he grew up and his mother still lives. He also wants to buy his mother a Mercedes for her short commute to Tifton, where she works as a shipping clerk.
Being a millionaire will not affect his lifelong goal of supporting family and close friends, he said. "It's no different. I will always be the same person," he said to a handful of cameras and reporters.
Eight years after being married while stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., Danielle Moore still feels like she never had a proper honeymoon.
"We just got married and went to work the next day," said Moore, 27, sitting next to her husband.
Now, Danielle Moore said, she's planning to have a new wedding, honeymoon, new house, new car and much more. "I'm thinking I'm going to wake up and this is all a dream," she said.
The Moores have been in the service about 10 years and both are staff sergeants stationed in Korea. He's a chemical decontamination specialist with the 520th Maintenance Company. She has served as a helicopter electronics technician with C Company, 52nd Aviation Regiment.
They had planned to make the Army a career. Now both are working to get discharges.
Stephen Moore said he plans to return to Korea to say farewell to his fellow soldiers. He expects to be discharged from the service within a few months.
The new millionaire was the talk of the town.
Before announcing his winnings at a news conference, Stephen Moore dropped by the Nu Technics Salon in downtown Fitzgerald for a haircut.
Regina Walker, a worker at the salon, recognized the town millionaire instantly.
"We knew who it was when he came in," Walker said. "I asked him for a birthday present, and he said he had not picked up his check yet."
Paula Stuhr/Tifton Gazette
Army Staff Sgt. Tirrell Moore and his wife, Staff Sgt. Danielle Moore, talk Thursday about their good fortune.