Melissa Weinmann and her family won $1 million in the lottery. She is shown at the Circle K where she bought her winning ticket. (Bruce Graner / Pensacola News Journal)
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PENSACOLA, FLA. — A civil service worker who has felt the sting of federal furloughs and her Marine Corps husband won’t have to work “paycheck to paycheck” anymore after winning $1 million in Wednesday’s $448.4 million Powerball jackpot.
Melissa Weinmann, 43, purchased three $2 Powerball entries at a local Circle K store Tuesday night.
Her third ticket had the five correct numbers: 5-25-30-58-59, but didn’t have the Powerball number, which was 32. Three winning tickets for the entire $448.4 million Powerball jackpot were sold in New Jersey and Minnesota.
Paul White, 45, of Ham Lake, Minn., came forward Thursday to claim his share of the prize, and 16 employees of the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department in Toms River, N.J., are the holders of one of the two remaining winning tickets.
Although it’s not the big prize, picking five numbers is life-changing for Weinmann, a secretary at Pensacola Naval Air Station who has had to take one day off work each week without pay because of federal sequestration.
“We don’t have to worry about food on the table, or paying the light bill, or things like that,” she said Thursday after buying a soda at the same Circle K. “But we’re going to invest most of it. We’ve already seen a financial planner.”
After Uncle Sam’s take, the Weinmanns won $750,000.
Weinmann and her husband, Staff Sgt. Jason Weinmann, also plan to buy a boat and take the grandson they’re raising, 4-year-old Jordan Nelson, to Disney World soon for his birthday.
“He’s already announced all the toys he’s going to be getting,” Melissa Weinmann said.
Will he get them?
The Weinmanns moved to Pensacola in September from Cherry Point, N.C., where Jason, who has served in Afghanistan, was previously stationed.
Melissa Weinmann said she does not play any lottery unless the payout is “too big to resist.” All her picks were “quick picks” selected randomly by computer.
She found out she won after the numbers began being posted Wednesday on Facebook. At first, the couple thought they did not win because their numbers were not in the same order as the winning numbers. But after a few minutes of research on the Internet, it sunk in. They had won $1 million.
“I couldn’t sleep, I’m sick to my stomach, nervous,” she said. “I just never thought anything like this would ever happen.”
As of Thursday night, the only people who knew the couple won were Melissa’s mother in North Carolina and a few co-workers. Her boss gave her Thursday off to take care of her financial business. On Friday, she was off for her weekly furlough date.
But she’ll be back to work Monday.
“If I didn’t work,” she said, “I’d be lost.”
Her husband won’t be taking it easy either. He plans to re-enlist this year.