Sam and Barb Ratliff of Elkview were introduced as West Virginia's latest $1 million winners from the Powerball game at a press conference Tuesday. Their lucky ticket, which matched five numbers from the June 25th drawing, was purchased from the Kroger #790 at Beckley Crossing Shopping Center in Beckley.
"This is a blessing," Barb said. "We were in Beckley visiting relatives and picking up some groceries when I reminded Sam that he had not bought his tickets yet, so he went into the store and got them."
They learned they had the winning ticket Sunday night while watching the nightly news.
"When we found out that a million-dollar ticket was sold at that same Kroger store in Beckley, we decided we better check our tickets," Sam said. "I had her read the numbers back to me and then I told her to take the ticket and let me read the numbers back again. We could not believe it."
The Ratliff's have three sons, six grandchildren and four great grand-children. While they are letting all of this sink in they know they want to use some of the money to pay off their children's school loans, take a trip to visit their family in California and supplement their retirement. The Ratliff's regularly play the Lottery and Barb said, "We always said if we ever win, nothing will change. We are who we are."
Sam retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1995 and as an accountant with the State in 2012. Barb is currently working for the State Auditor's Office and is scheduled to retire at the end of this month. Barb and Sam have been married 47 years.
The Ratliff's were personally not impacted by the recent flooding in their area, however they have been working through their church, Mount Tabor United Methodist in Pinch, to help feed volunteers who are assisting with flood relief efforts in their area. They said they plan to continue to support their church's efforts with some of their winnings.
"We have been working all week and volunteering through our church to help feed folks and help others and that is one of the reasons we waited a week to come in and claim the money. We signed the back of the ticket and knew it was there in a safe place and we were just too busy to worry about it," Barb said. "We plan to help our church continue the work that they are doing and to also support the Elk River Backpack Blessings. That group does a lot of good for children in our area."
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