Andrew "Jack" Whittaker Jr. won a $314.9 million jackpot, the largest in Powerball history and, according to West Virginia lottery officials, the largest jackpot worldwide ever won by one person.
Rather than wait for annual payouts over 29 years, Whittaker, 55, opted to take a smaller lump sum of $111 million, after taxes. He received a check for $10 million Friday and will get the rest Jan. 14, said Nancy Bulla, spokeswoman for the West Virginia lottery.
"I've had to work for everything in my life. This is the first thing that's ever been given to me," Whittaker said at a Charleston news conference.
Flanked by his wife, Jewell Whittaker, and other family members, Whittaker pledged not to let his newfound wealth change him much -- "I'm content with my life" -- though he did allow that he might buy a new house and a helicopter.
But first, Whittaker said, he plans to give 10 percent of the gross winnings to three Church of God parishes to "set up a fund to do good." Whittaker also said he will expand his three construction businesses, which take in about $17 million a year but have fallen on hard times.
The ticket came from the C&L Super Serve in Hurricane (pronounced herr-ah-cun), a town 25 miles west of Charleston that has a population of 5,893. Whittaker, who lives in Scott Depot, a few miles from Hurricane, said he stops at the station nearly every morning to fill up his Lincoln Navigator and buy a biscuit or two.
Jill Caserta, 21, the clerk who sold Whittaker the winning ticket, said nobody believed him when he came in Thursday morning and said he was the winner. "I told him that if he had really won, he'd be more excited than he was. Sure enough, he wasn't lying."
-- Christopher Lee and Dan Eggen