ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- A 45-year-old suburban Minneapolis man wasted little time Thursday in claiming one-third of a $448 million Powerball jackpot, coming forward only hours after realizing he had won to reveal his good fortune to the world.
Paul White, a project engineer from Ham Lake, said at a news conference at Minnesota State Lottery headquarters that his "significant other" called him Thursday morning to say one of three winning tickets for Wednesday night's drawing had been sold in Minnesota. The other two were sold in New Jersey, but those who bought them hadn't come forward yet.
White said he checked the 10 tickets he had bought and realized he had nailed all six numbers on one of them. The divorced father of two teenagers said the ensuing hours had been a blur.
"It's just surreal at this point. I don't think you guys can understand -- it's crazy. No worries anymore. It's crazy," he said.
Family members appeared alongside White at the joyful news conference. White, who said he is a native of Rhinelander, Wis., said he had a tough time convincing many of family members that he had a winning ticket.
"The only person who didn't feel I was BSing them was my mother. Whose name is Betty White, by the way," he said.
White said he worked for a Minneapolis electrical contractor that had worked on major projects around the area including the Twins' Target Field and the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. He said he's help his company finish a few things up, but that after that his working days would be over.
"I think a lot of good things are going to come out of this for not only my family and friends but for random people," he said. "I don't want to work for anybody else for the rest of my life for a paycheck.
The other two winning tickets were sold in New Jersey, including at a store in Little Egg Harbor, which is still recovering from the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, which made landfall just a few miles away.
"Hopefully, it's somebody who lives in the area, and this is their reward for having gone through this," said Carol Blackford, a retiree whose home in Little Egg Harbor was flooded with knee-high water during last October's storm. "And if they want to share, we're here."