A Fredericksburg man on Thursday was awarded a $217 million ceremonial check. He won the Powerball lottery that was drawn on February 6. And despite an 81-mile commute to work, he and his wife – both federal workers – have not yet quit their jobs, although that will happen soon.
On Super Bowl Sunday, 53-year-old Dave Honeywell was departing on a business trip at Richmond International Airport. Before he got on the jet, he spent $10 in a state lottery vending machine, purchasing five opportunities to win the then- growing Powerball jackpot.
In Denver, the morning after the drawing, Honeywell checked online.
"I saw the Powerball number first, and I went, ‘Oh I won a couple of dollars,'" recalls Honeywell with a laugh.
Then he kept reading across the line of numbers.
"I started going left to right, and my hands were shaking so bad, I couldn't believe it," he said.
Honeywell's ticket was the sole winner of a $217 million jackpot. He called home with the happy news.
His wife, Nancy Honeywell, said nothing changed immediately.
"We both worked Thursday, the same day. I mean, we're both still working," she said.
The next problem was getting the $217 million winning ticket home through airport security screenings (where wallets often get separated from people).
"In Minneapolis, I actually found this wallet you put on your arm," explained Dave Honeywell. "I've used them before for traveling overseas. And so I put it inside my long sleeves, whatever. Put the ticket in there, but I kept checking it on the way home. OK, it's gotta be there, it's gotta be there."
Dave Honeywell got the ticket home, and has now been presented with a ceremonial check for $217 million, although he's elected the quick-payout option of only $136 million. Dave and Nancy are federal workers, and because of base consolidation, their daily commute is now 81 miles each way, and these new zillionaires have stayed on the job!
That will soon change.
"She's going to retire in about two and a half weeks," Dave Honeywell told reporters. "And then I'm going to probably retire in about a month and a half. I've still got some things I've got to close down on my project."
How will their lives change? Nancy Honeywell had a ready answer: "We going to actually build a bigger retirement house, because we want to build something to have the whole family there at the same time. That's the only big change."