$1 Million Powerball Win is Life Changing for Gaithersburg Couple

Celebrating the big win are our lucky couple, who bid everyone “Slainté,” (Irish Gaelic for “Cheers!”) along with Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica (left) and the Powerball.

Bought second-tier winning ticket in Aug. 23 drawing

A grateful Montgomery County mother of four wept tears of joy Friday as she and her husband claimed their life-changing $1 million Powerball prize at Maryland Lottery headquarters.

Their next stop after the Lottery’s Winner’s Circle was a return trip to their lucky Lottery retailer, Potomac Shell in Gaithersburg. They planned to shake the hand of the employee who sold her the winning ticket in the Aug. 23 drawing. “He wished me good luck,” she said. “It worked!”

The date of their big win is interesting because 23 is one of her husband’s lucky numbers, the winner said. The jackpot sat at $758 million that day, which is the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The winner’s husband is a manager at a pipefitting company, and he had joined with 33 of his co-workers to buy $340 worth of tickets. Then his wife decided to buy a ticket, too.

The lucky lady, who is employed in the education field, stopped at Potomac Shell between errands and doctors’ visits. For some reason she still can’t explain, she completely changed up her Powerball routine. Rather than buying a ticket that would span two weeks of drawings, she paid $10 to get five lines of numbers for the big Aug. 23 drawing. Rather than playing her set of lucky numbers, she let the Lottery terminal randomly pick the numbers.

The next day, her husband’s group discovered they won $30. Someone mentioned to the husband that the $1 million ticket was sold in his town. He texted that news to his wife, along with the message, “Look at your ticket.” She did and texted back, “I’ve got five numbers!” At that point, he asked her to take a photo of the ticket and text it to him. His next message: “You won!”

“The first thing I did was say a prayer of thanksgiving,” she said. “Then, I felt sick!”

They hid the winning ticket all over the house until they could bring it to Lottery headquarters. “At first, I hid it in a yellow legal pad,” she said. “I hid it right in the open.” Next, it went into her purse. Later, it moved into an envelope hidden in a cabinet. Its final resting place was inside a “Winnie the Pooh” VHS tape case. “It spent the night there until we came here today,” the happy husband said.

The couple is making plans now for their big prize, which will bolster their retirement fund. Married 35 years this fall, they may do something special for their anniversary, and they plan to financially help their adult children.

Sharing in the celebration is their lucky Montgomery County Lottery retailer. Potomac Shell located at 12140 Darnestown Road earned a bonus of $2,500 for selling the ticket.

This is the second $1 million Powerball win during 2017 in Maryland, and 50 players have won $50,000 Powerball prizes this year. Nine of the $50,000 winners have yet to claim their prizes.