Press Release

The FEMA Team

June 29 , 2005

West Virginia

Charleston, WV – West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin presented the winners of a $10 million Powerball ticket with an oversized check made payable to “The FEMA Team,” today in Charleston. Manchin noted it is the sixth Powerball jackpot prize won by a ticket purchased in West Virginia.

Opting for the $5.8 million cash option, Debbie Bucher of Winchester, VA claimed the prize on behalf of 15 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) workers in Berryville, VA. Sold by Sheetz on Washington Street in Charles Town for the drawing held June 29, the winning ticket translates into a $100,0000 bonus for the lottery retailer, according to Lottery Director John Musgrave.

On hand to congratulate the 14 winners able to make the trip, Sheetz Community Sponsorship Coordinator Angela Ianuzzi said employees at the Charles Town store voted to give $10,000 to St. Jude's Center for Cancer Research in Memphis, TN. According to Dan McMahon, Executive VP of Operations for Sheetz, the remainder of the $100,000 bonus will be spent on lottery-related expenses and overhead, as well as bonuses for the Charles Town store employees. Presenting a $10,000 check to Julie Janes, regional representative for St. Jude's, Sheetz District Manager Ramona Kitt said her company's enthusiasm is two-fold. “While celebrating with the winners, we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to share with St. Jude's. We're thrilled for our customers; and we're thrilled for the children of St. Jude's,” he said.

Speaking for the group, Bucher said 12 of the prizewinners are residents of Virginia, while three are residents of WV. “We really owe a debt of gratitude to Paul Whittemore. He's the one who started this five years ago, the one who actually buys the tickets for all of us.” Bucher said Whittemore was unable to make the trip to Charleston , that he needed to stay at work to begin coordinating disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Dennis victims.

Contacted at home, Whittemore said buying the tickets has been a pleasure. “Getting 14 other people together to talk about the details of the win, has been something else, sort of like herding cats and mice at the same time. One woman in a wheelchair got real emotional saying she would be buying a car she would never have had.” For his part, Whittemore said he would pay off a home mortgage, donate to a couple charities and continue a celebration that was less than restful. “I was on Cape Cod for my 70 th birthday July 4, but because of all this, it wasn't exactly peaceful. Maybe now things will calm down.” Whittemore said he's been on a roller coaster since June 29. “I bought 15 tickets for the drawing, but quite frankly, I was so excited over the $10 million, I didn't even check the other tickets.”

Musgrave said each of the 15 winners received $388,048.12 before taxes. The West Virginia winners received $265,812.96 after the Lottery withheld 25 percent in federal taxes and 6.5 percent in state taxes. Musgrave said 25 percent of the Virginians' checks was withheld for federal taxes, but they would each wait to pay VA state taxes at the end of the tax year. The total on each of those checks was $291,036.09.

Musgrave said West Virginia lottery retailers have sold 10 MultiState jackpot tickets since 1989, including the world record $315 million won by Jack Whittaker in 2002. In addition to the six Powerball jackpots won since the game was introduced in 1994, Musgrave said WV lottery retailers sold four other winning jackpot tickets in the game previously known as Lotto America.

The last person to buy a winning jackpot ticket in West Virginia was Hobert Parnell of Rocky Gap, Va., who bought his $62.4 million ticket from a Bluefield retailer in 2003. Powerball is played in 27 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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