RAVENNA, TX -- A Fannin County man beat amazing odds by winning the $40-million Powerball jackpot last week. Our own Victoria Maranan caught up with him as he got home from claiming his prize in Austin.
You are more likely to be hit by lightning than win the lottery, the chance of winning is one in 175-million. But miraculously, Paul McDowell of Ravenna became that one in 175-million Friday. His ticket was the only one sold to match all five numbers including the Powerball and Tuesday, he shares his reaction and his plans for the big jackpot.
"I'm going to retire here in the morning. I'm gonna take my uniforms in and stuff in the morning and retire, quit, whatever you do," he said.
McDowell lived in Ravenna all his life and said he always buys lottery tickets after work, but he never imagined he'd win big someday.
"I guess anyone who deserves it has won it and it's just, we're just easy going people up here, everybody is," he said.
McDowell was just heading home from work when he passed by a Bells gas station to buy a lottery ticket. Little did he know what he had in his hand would change his life forever.
"One of the girls found out there at work and she finally told me that I'd won. And a couple of hours into work I just decided to leave and get everything going," he said.
Tuesday, McDowell rushed down to the Texas Lottery Headquarters in Austin to claim his winnings. His Quick Pick ticket was the only one sold that matches all five winning numbers including the Powerball. McDowell chose the cash value option which amounts to nearly $25-million before taxes and he said he already has plans.
"Might buy a few cows, a couple of tractors and a new car. That ought to do it," he said.
Ever since McDowell bought his winning ticket at the Lone Star Food Store in Bells, store employee Chris Turner said people have been coming in to try their luck.
He said he's happy that out of 30,000 people who passed by his store, the winner turned out to be a Texoman.
"I'm glad he's local. Hopefully something will happen where he'll pitch into the community and help out with the things that are going on around here," Turner said.
And McDowell said if one Texoman took home the loot, who says lightning won't strike twice?
"Well there's bound to be another one coming in behind me, let's just hope it's real soon," he said.
Lone Star Food Stores is eligible for a $400,000 retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.
McDowell is the first Powerball jackpot winner in Texas since the state joined the multi-state game in 2010.
His quick pick ticket was the only ticket sold to match all five numbers drawn - 9 - 14 - 17 - 49 - 57 - and the Powerball - 2.