March 31, 2014 – The winner of a $96.5 million Powerball jackpot from the drawing March 22 came forward Friday to claim his prize from the Missouri Lottery.
John Brands and his wife Susan knew they were nearly $100 million richer the morning after they won their Powerball prize; John woke Susan up with the good news after checking the numbers himself.
“I thought the house was on fire,” Susan told Missouri Lottery officials Friday. “I thought he was messing with me.”
But the win was real, and the the Brands’ lives have already changed thanks to their windfall. John Brands, a 49-year-old civil engineer, has already quit his job. Susan, also 49 and a web-design student, said she’ll finish out her semester before fully enjoying the “good life”.
When they arrived to claim their giant check Friday, the Brands already had a plan for some of their winnings. The self-described “nerds” and “movie buffs” said they’d be taking a trip to New Zealand to see the country where “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” were filmed.
They also said they’d like to buy some new cars, as both of theirs are about a decade old. Along with learning new things like guitar, new languages and cooking techniques, some farmland may be in their future as well.
“We are just so humbled by this experience,” Susan said Friday. “John and I both feel very blessed and grateful to have this happen to us.”
Though the Brands’ choice between annuity prize or lump-sum cash value for their Powerball jackpot was not released, they’ll either receive more than $55 million in a one-time, lump-sum cash payment, or about $3.2 million each year for the next 29 years.