Aug. 31, 2012 is a date Donald Lawson will never forget.
The Lapeer man became Michigan Lottery’s biggest winner when he claimed a $337 million Powerball jackpot. Lawson bought the winning ticket at the Sunoco gas station on North Main Street in Lapeer.
Lawson still remembers what it was like learning of his good fortune.
“I called my sister and told her to quit her job and come home,” said Lawson. “She laughed and said: ‘Did you win the Lottery?’ and I said: ‘Yes!’”
Lawson then decided to have some fun with his mother.
“I called my mom and told her I won $200,000 in the Lottery and she didn’t believe me,” said Lawson. “Finally I said: ‘Okay. I’ll tell you the truth. I won $337 million!’”
Lawson told the media he “couldn’t breathe” and had to “look twice at the ticket” before believing he was the big winner. Lawson said he picked his own numbers, but he was “guided from above” when filling out his play slip.
He chose to receive his winnings as one-time lump sum cash payment of about $224.6 million, rather than an annuity.
Lawson’s $337 million Powerball jackpot holds the record as the largest Lottery prize ever won in Michigan. The last Michigan player to win the Powerball jackpot was Julie Leach, of Three Rivers. Leach won the game’s $310.5 million jackpot on Sept. 30, 2015.
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