DEARBORN, Missouri (Reuters) - A Missouri couple who won half of a record $587.5 million Powerball jackpot said on Friday they plan to stay put in their rural community, but know their lives will be changed.
“I think we’ll have a good Christmas,” Cindy Hill said at a news conference where she and her husband, Mark Hill, were presented as winners of the jackpot by the Missouri Lottery.
Cindy Hill, 51, is a former office manager who got laid off in 2010. Mark Hill, 52, was a mechanic for Hillshire Brands, a food company, but has now quit his job.
They have three grown sons and a 6-year-old daughter adopted from China who were among about 25 relatives at the news conference, held in the gymnasium of the high school where they were sweethearts in the 1970s.
Cindy Hill first learned of the winning ticket on Thursday when she checked her numbers at the Trex Mart in Dearborn, a community of about 500 people 30 miles north of Kansas City. She then called Mark Hill from her car. They had bought five tickets.
“I think I‘m going to have a heart attack,” she told him. He told her to meet him at his mother’s house so he could check the numbers for himself. “He said this is the ‘Show Me State,’ show me.”
When they verified the numbers, they traveled to lottery offices in Jefferson City, Missouri, spent the night in a hotel and tried to comprehend what happened, Cindy Hill said.
“I thought ‘This isn’t what I thought it would be like, now I‘m really nervous,” she said. “I‘m grateful, but there will be some not-so-good stuff to go along with it.” Earlier, she said “You are going to get people coming out of the woodwork and some of them many not be too sane.”
She said she and her husband plan to make the most of the winnings by giving to charity, to relatives for college education and other needs, and to the community.
“We are pretty well-grounded and worked hard all our lives,” Cindy Hill said.
Mark Hill deferred to his wife for most of the news conference, which was observed by about 300 students from grades 7 to 12 in the bleachers.
“It’s all just kind of a fuzz,” Mark Hill said.
He said he has not grasped winning the money. On Thursday, for example, he went to buy toothpaste and other items to take to the hotel and found himself checking the price.
Cindy Hill said her husband wants a red Chevrolet Camaro car and she wants a horse. Daughter Jaiden wants a pony, Cindy Hill said. They also plan to travel, including a holiday with a lot of relatives in tow, she said.
The Hills won $293,750,000 before taxes. But they will take it in a lump sum of about $193 million rather than the larger amount over 30 years.
The Hills shared the Powerball payout with someone who bought a ticket at a food store in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on the outskirts of Phoenix. The Arizona winner has not yet come forward.
Some states allow lottery winners to remain anonymous but Missouri requires that the winner be publicly identified to claim the prize.
Dearborn reveled in its sudden arrival in the spotlight.
“It was a total surprise,” Don Palmer, a customer at the Trex Mart convenience store, said on Thursday. “Nothing ever happens in Dearborn.”
The winning numbers were 5, 16, 22, 23, 29, and the Powerball number 6.
The odds of winning the jackpot with a $2 ticket is one in more than 175 million.
Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Mohammad Zargham