Powerball Jackpot Winner Revealed

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The largest single jackpot prize ever awarded in Michigan, and 44-year-old Donald Lawson's first purchase? Bubblegum.

The self-proclaimed hillbilly originially from Arkansas said he quit his job as a railroad engineer right after he realized he got the winning ticket.

"I want to travel a lot, and now I can go anywhere in the world I want, so that's what I'm going to do," Lawson said.

Lawson opted for the $224.6 million cash lump sum, which amounts to just under $159 million after taxes.

"The money won't last forever unless I use it right and budget it right," Lawson said. "It's not a lot. $337 million, you all think it's a tremendous amount. I'm kinda pissed at Uncle Sam," Lawson joked during the press conference at the Michigan Lottery office.

He said he has a higher power to thank for his good fortune at the Sunoco station in Lapeer on August 15.

"There was a long line, you know, five, six people in front of me," Lawson said. "So, something, something from above, I do have to credit that told me to go over there and pick my own numbers. I didn't really pick them, my hand just went."

The six numbers that changed his life were 6, 27, 46, 51, 56 and Powerball number 21.

He said he told his whole family to retire. Lawson's mother was by his side when he accepted the check, and she said's he not worried about the money changing him.

"He's always been like he is, like you see him today, he's a jokester, it's not going to change," Lawson's mother said. "And so he knows the value of a dollar, all his life."

Lawson said he'll continue to eat at McDonald's, and he doesn't need lobster or filet mignon because he's a "simple guy."

He does plan to put his two daughters through college.

"After that, I'm going to be taken care of, very well," Lawson said.

Lawson confessed he plays the lottery often, maybe even "too much." He went to bed early when the numbers were announced because he never though he'd win. His daughter called the next day, and told him to check out. Lawson said he called his mother right away and played a joke on her.

"I told her I won $200,000 in the Lottery and she didn't believe me. Finally, I said, 'Okay, I'll tell you the truth. I won $337 million!'"

Lawson also matched a few more numbers, giving him $4 extra in prize money.

Lawson said he doesn't plan to stay in Lapeer.

This is the third largest jackpot in Powerball history.

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  • by Doris Lott Location: Lansing, MI on Sep 1, 2012 at 11:46 AM
    Good for Donald Lawson! I am so happy to know that a Michigan resident actually won in a Michigan Lottery game. Sounds like a fantastic fellow who deserved it. Hoo ya!!!
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