“The Shipping 20″ Returns To Where Their Worthwhile Week Started
By Chris Earl, Reporter.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – After 250 miles on a bus, with a handful of the only other people in the world who could truly understand what they’ve been through, the winners of last week’s $241 million Powerball jackpot pulled up to the Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU) offices on F Avenue NW late Wednesday afternoon.
Yet one final stop remained.
Before the 20 co-workers from the shipping department at the Quaker Oats facility in downtown Cedar Rapids would split up, they had to take another hour, hop back on their chartered bus and see where it all took place.
“I haven’t slept much at all,” said the man who purchased a block of 100 tickets last Wednesday at the Hy-Vee at 5050 Edgewood Road.
Just four hours before, the group, now known as “The Shipping 20″, accepted the official confirmation from Iowa Lottery officials in Des Moines. Once the ticket was verified, the winners held the oversized $241 million check and talked about their plans.
The group selected the lump-sum option for $160.3 million. The winners — 18 men and two women, according to the Iowa Lottery – will each receive about $5.6 million after taxes are withheld.
This is life-altering money and people in The Shipping 20 range from ages 35 to 64. The youngest winner said he plans to return to Quaker Oats while many others said they have some major decisions to make. Yet the lottery said “at least 11 members” of the group said they would retire after winning the prize.
If you’re ever thought about what it would feel like in the days after becoming instantly wealthy, a sampling from our interviews at the store on Wednesday night:
- A woman who has worked at Quaker for 30+ years: “I’ve been laughing, crying, balling and stressing. You’re emotional. There are hundreds of people we work with but we can’t take them all to where we’re going. There is only so much you do can do to help.”
- A man in his sixties, on the edge of retiring before the winning ticket: “It’s hard to sleep at night with your mind wandering on what you’ll do next.”
- The youngest man in the group, mid-thirties: “I’ve lost eight pounds in a week. I can’t eat or sleep or anything.”
- The man who brought the winning ticket last week: “You can’t shut your mind off. You close your eyes and your mind is just going again.”
The Hy-Vee store receives a $10,000 bonus for selling the top-dollar ticket, which is the largest Powerball payout in state history.
Yet a quiet moment as the man who brought $100 from his co-workers last week to buy the eventual winning ticket spotted a teenage worker.
“You’re the one who sold me the tickets,” the man told the teenager.
“I did?” the teenager asked, with a doubting smile.
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