July 23, 2013 – It took three long years before Texans could say there was a Powerball jackpot winner among them, but last week’s celebration outside the Lone Star/On the Run convenience store in Bells, Texas, seemed worth the wait.
The store sold a $40 million winning ticket to Paul McDowell, of Ravenna, Texas, for the May 29 Powerball drawing. The Powerball website shows that McDowell chose the cash option for his win, and received about $24 million.
KTEN News reporter Alex Belser reported that the Lone Star/On the Run store got a 1 percent commission for selling the winning ticket – $400,000 which Bill Douglass, who owns a chain of the stores, said will be going mostly to healthcare costs for his 300 employees.
Douglass told Belser “it’s a once in a lifetime event, so we’re excited for the people in Bells, and that’s why we’re throwing the party.”
He also said he’d be paying $10,000 towards a new park in Bells, and that some employees got bonuses after selling quite possibly the largest jackpot-winning ticket in Texas Lottery history.
As for the winner, McDowell did not attend the party, though employees told Belser he had been there buying lottery tickets that morning, as well as the day before.
John Henard, McDowell’s friend, said that not too much has changed since the big win. McDowell quit his job with Waste Management, and has since bought a few new cars and a backhoe – which neighbors said he used to help them.
Henard also told Belser that he and McDowell walk two miles together each morning, and that McDowell is “just spending a bit here and there, just things that he could really use.”