February 22, 2006

Eight Nebraska laborers claim $365 mln jackpot

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Eight Nebraska meat
packing plant workers on Wednesday claimed a record $365
million jackpot, the largest lottery award in the United
States, according to officials.

Alternating between smiles, tears, and nervousness, the
seven men and one woman appeared together at a news conference
in Lincoln to share how and when they learned they were instant

"We're still thinking we're going to wake up from a dream
or something," said 29-year-old Chasity Rutjens. "We're trying
to grasp the fact that we're millionaires."

Rutjens and seven male co-workers each will receive $22.1
million after agreeing to take a lump sum payment and evenly
divide the proceeds, according to lottery officials.

In addition to Rutjens, the winners included 34-year-old
Dung Tran, who bought the winning ticket for the group on
Friday afternoon at a Lincoln convenience store.

Tran, a Vietnamese refugee who came to the United States 16
years ago, held back tears when talking about how the win would
allow him to stop work and spend more time with his wife and
young son.

The other winners were Quang Dao, 56, Eric Zornes, 40;
David Gehle, 53; Michael Terpstra, 47; Robert Stewart, 30; and
Alain Maboussou, 26.

The group first learned of that they held the winning
numbers -- 15, 17, 43, 44 and 48, with a Powerball number of 29
-- early Sunday morning. They contacted an attorney later that
day to help them draft an agreement and claim the prize.

The jackpot is the largest in U.S. history, surpassing the
previous jackpot record of $363 million, according to the
Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers the game for
participating states.

The winners said they had not yet made specific plans for
their money, though they all expressed a desire not to return
to work.

"I want to make sure it lasts me the rest of my life," said