Metro-East News

Despite highest Powerball jackpot to date, community stays humble

Despite highest Powerball to date, community stays humble

Despite a $1.5 billion payout, residents want to pay off debts for family members and give back to charities, churches and schools instead of spending it all on themselves.
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Despite a $1.5 billion payout, residents want to pay off debts for family members and give back to charities, churches and schools instead of spending it all on themselves.

Six numbers stand between one person and a fast track to billionaire status.

The estimated $1.5 billion payout is the largest in Powerball histroy and still rising. The Multi-State Lottery Association predicts that the frantic growth could push this number even higher, with a lump sum payout of close to $1 billion.

Even after adding nine zeros to the end of his bank account, BP Manager Brandon Holmes wants to donate most of it to the Salvation Army. His uncle donated his time to the Salvation Army in Key West, Fla., after Hurricane George left homes devastated and streets flooded. His uncle fell in love with the area and never left, thanking the charity for the opportunity to fix the area.

“I just pray that whoever does win, actually does some good with it,” Holmes said. “Someone has got to do some good with it. That’s too much money to spend on yourself.”

Like Holmes, many want to donate to charities, schools and churches that have helped them along the way. They also want to pay off friends’ student loans and buy homes for their family members, priding themselves in the importance of giving back.

Passing through the BP on Lebanon Ave near State Route 161, lab technician Richard Beverly had a collection of tickets for himself but wanted to give his friends a few chances to win as well. He bought the ticket for a friend waiting in the car and plans to give them a much bigger prize if he wins.

“I’d pay off all my friends’ tuition, including my own,” Beverly said. “Maybe invest in some gold or a savings account as well.”

Initially only interested in scratch tickets, LaNita Montgomery would describe herself as a very casual Powerball player but couldn’t pass up the big payout. Taking a vacation was the last thing on her mind behind a list of people she thinks deserves it more.

“First, I’d give partial to my church,” Montgomery said, “than give $50 million to my family, let them divvy it out.”

A manger at the BP noted that while the Powerball craze has drawn more traffic, her location has stayed relatively calm expecting a swell as the drawing moves closer. She spent most of Wednesday accepting promises of splitting the fortune with loyal customers. Much like the promise that local CPA Jeff Fries said as he walked out holding his soda and a new batch of tickets.

Fries found himself drawn to the lottery not just for a new car, but to enhance the lives of his immediate family.

“First thing I’d do is buy both my brothers’ houses,” Fries said. “Then move somewhere warm probably.”

No winner had been announced late Wednesday. The winning numbers are 4-8-19-27-34; the Powerball is 10; and the Power Play is 2.

Patrick McCarthy: 618-239-2513, @PatrickMBND

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