$61 MILLION MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT WINNERS CLAIM PRIZE
Mother and son will share winnings
Amid a festive setting of balloons and cheering onlookers, the Tennessee Lottery today welcomed the winners of its largest prize ever, who arrived to claim the $61 million Mega Millions jackpot won from the drawing held Friday, Jan. 3.
The winners of the hefty prize, Bettina "Tina" Still and her son Jonathan, both of Nashville, preferred not to speak publicly but did allow photographs to be taken at the Lottery's Nashville headquarters with Tennessee Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Hargrove.
"We couldn't be happier for Tina and her family," said Mrs. Hargrove. "Winning the big jackpot is a dream come true and Lottery players across Tennessee will all take pleasure in this great news. The chance at such good fortune is what makes the Lottery fun—and what drives our funding of education programs for students and their families."
Mrs. Still, a 69-year-old retiree who lives in Bellevue and worked for the State of Tennessee, said she "nearly fainted" when she realized she had won. She and Jonathan, who currently works for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, have played lottery games together for years and will split the winnings. Tina Still also issued the following statement:
"I am truly grateful for this blessing. I have played the Lottery since it first arrived in Tennessee and have always believed that I could win. As I keep telling my friends: You can't win if you don't play. Knowing you can win is one of the biggest thrills in the world. It's part of the fun of playing.
But, honestly, when I realized I'd actually won, I was astonished and nearly fainted … just absolutely astonished. This will truly mean a lot to us."
Mrs. Still told Lottery officials she and her son waited nearly a week to claim the jackpot in order to consider their options and consult with a financial advisor. They chose the lump-sum cash payment, as opposed to the annuitized amount.