Mary and Brian Lohse of Bondurant, Iowa, walked into the Iowa Lottery headquarters on Thursday as a medical technician and attorney, respectively, and parents to three children.
They exited the headquarters in a stretch limousine after claiming their prize as sole winners of a $202.1 million Powerball jackpot.
The story is so unbelievable that even Mary Lohse, 42, who bought the winning Powerball ticket last week at a local Casey’s General Store where she stopped for gas, didn’t think she had won the grand prize.
“I have the last three numbers and I was like, ‘Well, crap, I think I won at least 100 bucks,” she said at a news conference Thursday.
Once she saw all the numbers and believed it herself, she had an even harder time convincing her husband, who was out of town for work.
He told her to “go see our attorney,” if she was telling the truth. When Mary sent him a text message asking for directions to their attorney’s office, he knew their lives had changed.
“I figured perhaps she wasn’t pulling my leg,” Brian Lohse, 43, said.
The couple, as sole winners , chose a one-time payment that reduced the gross prize to $129.8 million. After taxes, the couple, parents to kids ages 15, 11 and 8, collected a check for $90.9 million.
“We’ve certainly been blessed beyond what we ever thought we would be,” said Brian Lohse, who, in addition to his position as an attorney at a Des Moines insurance company, also serves on the Bondurant City Council.
Both Brian and Mary, who works as a certified medical assistant at the pediatric clinic of a medical center in Des Moines, have taken a leave of absence from their jobs.
They told reporters Thursday they plan to pay off their student loans, build a new house and buy new cars, a first for Mary. Her husband has already splurged on new shoes, the Des Moines Register reported.
They also plan to give some of their winnings to charity, establish their own foundation and donate to their local church and schools.
While the Lohses hope to keep life their lives the same and keep their children grounded, they acknowledged their children will inevitably have new opportunities with their newfound, and unexpected, wealth.
“Basically, they’re going to get a lot more dates, which was important to the 15-year-old,” Brian Lohse said. “But don’t change the way we’ve raised you. You’re still the same person. You still have the same values. Obviously, things are going to change.”