INDIANAPOLIS - As the Powerball jackpot swelled to an estimated $758.7 million last week, Hoosier Lottery offices were busy with winners claiming numerous Powerball prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.
Between Aug. 18 and Aug. 25, 13 Powerball winners claimed prizes of $50,000 or above at Hoosier Lottery Headquarters in Indianapolis.
Cheryl and Mike McElroy of Angola won $50,000 on Powerball after returning from a trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Their daughter surprised them with an anniversary gift of a trip to Hawaii. When the couple returned, Mike went out to get milk because the refrigerator was empty. While there, he picked up a Powerball ticket.
Mike returned to Orland Mid Town Market, 9474 W. State Road 120 in Orland, to check his ticket. After the employee scanned the ticket, the manager was summoned, and then the owner.
"I said, 'Is there something wrong?' And she said, 'No, you won quite a lot of money,'" Mike recalled while claiming his $50,000 prize. "I got emotional and they said, 'Are you going to pass out?' and I said, 'I don't think so.'"
Mike and Cheryl plan to put the $50,000 in the bank.
Winner Paula Elkins of Valparaiso won $50,000 her first time playing Powerball. She matched four of five numbers plus the Powerball in the Aug. 16 drawing with a ticket purchased at Admiral Petroleum, 208 Morthland Drive in Valparaiso.
"I was at the gas station getting gas, and I had heard about it on the news," Paula said of the Powerball jackpot when she purchased the ticket.
Paula originally thought she won $100 and planned to get a pedicure. Once she realized she actually won $50,000, her plans changed. Paula plans to replace her 2002 car and buy new furniture.
Robert Eley of Argos also won $50,000 in the Aug. 16 drawing. He bought his winning ticket at Casey's, 15933 N. Michigan Road in Argos. Robert was still processing the win. He was considering buying a tractor with his prize money.
John D. of Brownsburg won $50,000 in the Aug. 23 Powerball drawing with a ticket he purchased at Circle S Food Mart, 1355 N. Green St. in Brownsburg. John had a coworker check his ticket and discovered he won $50,000. He plans to buy a water heater and put the rest in the bank.
Divinity Lane of Chicago, Illinois lives near the state border and bought her Powerball ticket at The Spot, 11001 Indianapolis Blvd. in Hammond, Indiana. She won $50,000 in the Aug. 23 drawing and could not sleep all night before calling the Hoosier Lottery offices.
"I called at 8:30 on the dot," Divinity joked while claiming her prize. After calling, she drove down to Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis to claim her prize.
Larry and Cara Garris of Elizabethtown won $200,000 on a Powerball ticket purchased at Circle K, 3461 S. U.S. Highway 31 in Columbus. Cara organizes a regular workplace Powerball pool, but this was only the second time Larry bought a Powerball ticket. He paid $1 to add Power Play, which quadrupled his prize. The couple plans to pay off debt and buy a boat.
For Danny and Jeanie Harris of Martinsville, a $50,000 Powerball prize will mean being debt-free, a goal they had been feverishly working toward before winning. Their winning ticket was purchased at Wilbur Store, 3235 State Road 142 in Martinsville. The couple said after giving a percentage of the prize to their church, they plan to pay off debt.
"It's a lot of freedom," Jeanie said.
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