Donald Lawson

August 15, 2012


Powerball jackpot winner had to look twice!

Donald Lawson always figured he'd win the Michigan Lottery someday. Maybe even a big prize, like $10,000. But never did he think he would win $337 million!

"I couldn't breathe," Lawson said, in describing what it felt like when he realized he had a Powerball ticket worth millions of dollars. "I had to look at the ticket twice."

Lawson, a Lapeer resident, said he hasn't adjusted to being a millionaire--times 337.

"I feel exactly the same," he said. "When it sets in, maybe I'll feel different. It's overwhelming."

Lawson confessed that so far he hasn't thought too much about how to spend his money.

"I have to figure it out. But I will help my family, take care of my children and take care of myself. I can get things I've never been able to get before and still have money left over."

The first item on Lawson's shopping list is a vacation—"to wherever I want to go!"

Lawson learned of his good fortune on August 16 after his daughter told him the winning ticket from the previous night's drawing had been sold in Lapeer. Working backwards and matching the Powerball first, he checked his numbers and realized that he had a winner.

"I called my sister and told her to quit her job and come home. She laughed and said, 'Did you win the Lottery?' and I said yes!"

The winner then decided to have some fun with his mother.

"I called my mom and told her I won $200,000 in the Lottery and she didn't believe me.

Finally I said, 'Okay. I'll tell you the truth. I won $337 million!'"

Lawson elected the lump sum option, which is one prize of $224.6 million, less taxes (25 percent federal and 4.35 percent state). The final prize amount is approximately $158.7 million.

Lawson picked his own numbers, 6-27-46-51-56 and Powerball number 21, but they are not ones that he consistently plays. He said he was "guided from above" when filling out his bet slip. Prior to claiming his prize, Lawson first tucked the ticket in a Bible, then stored it in a safety deposit box.

The Sunoco Station at 1489 N. Main St., Lapeer, which sold Lawson the winning ticket, will receive a $50,000 bonus commission.