Powerball Winner Felipe Pina from Los Ojos, New Mexico won the $62.8 million Powerball jackpot on 23rd May 2007. Filipe Piña has been buying tickets from the same rural convenience stores for years but he always knew that one day he would get the winning Powerball numbers.
Felipe bought his New Mexico Powerball lottery ticket from Giant Sundial in Chama and let the machine choose for him – his winning Powerball Quick Pick numbers were 3, 11, 24, 36, 38, with the Powerball 6.
Felipe is 57 years old and a mechanic. He has had an auto repair shop in Chama for 21 years, called Piña Truck and Auto Repair. He plans to finish off the jobs he has waiting for him and then close the repair shop and retire. Felipe Piña said that he followed the New Mexico Lottery Board’s advice and waited a week before claiming his Powerball jackpot reward in order to discuss his options with lawyers and financial advisers. He lives in a small town and word of his win soon leaked out.
Lottery CEO, Tom Romero, said that every time the door opened at Lottery Headquarters, they were expecting the New Mexico Powerball lottery winner to walk in and add to their list of lucky winners. “Every day, we wondered where the ticket holder might be and when he or she would choose to step into the limelight and share their exciting story.”
Piña would not answer any questions about his life or his family and gave little clue on how he was going to spend his New Mexico Powerball lottery reward. Everyone loves to hear stories of Powerball winners and their plans, but this time, it was not to be.
Felipe did say that when he saw he had the winning Powerball numbers, “I laughed. I looked at it about three times. I put my reading glasses on.” He said he then went home and spoke to his girlfriend. “Do you believe in miracles? I just hit the Powerball.” Felipe did agree that his life would be different from now on, as now he had “millions compared to thousands.”
The Powerball winner from New Mexico did mention that he would like to buy a new house with his Powerball lottery jackpot and a new car while pay some outstanding bills. He also said that he would like to pay for his son Phillip to go to college and maybe “hit all 16 Oakland Rangers games.”
He said he has always had a yearning to fix up classic cars but never had much time, so perhaps he will look into that.
A year down the line, Felipe is a lot more open and has even been on a TV programme documenting the stories of Powerball winners. He said he was invited on to Oprah but felt the audience was too big for him to cope with. He still has his business, although it is closed at the moment and has built a large structure where he plans to restore classic cars, although the building will first be used for his wedding in May 2008, to his fiancée Adeline Maes.
Felipe is in the process of using his Powerball lottery jackpot to set up trust funds for his children and grandchildren, “If they do it right, they’ll never have to hurt for anything.”
Felipe said winning the New Mexico Powerball lottery has brought a lot of joy but also a lot of irritation. He said he is tired of listening to people telling him what he should do with his money. “A lot of people try to tell me what to do with the money, but it’s my money see,” he said, “When I am ready, I’ll do what my heart tells me.”
Felipe also said the requests for money are never ending. He now sends them all to his lawyer. The Powerball winner from New Mexico is wondering whether he should write a book on the strange things people ask for. Felipe said that one beggar said he was suicidal, “He wanted $7,000 and said his death would be on my conscience if I didn’t give him the money.” He said that the largest amount that has been asked for is $600,000 and most people want money to clear their debts. Felipe has no sympathy with these people and doesn’t believe people should get into debt in the first place – as he never has.
Felipe has also set up a scholarship for someone from a poor background. He said when he looks at the scholarships that are given at his local school, it seems to be the rich kids who are getting them. He wants his scholarship to go to someone who is prepared to work hard to improve their grades. He said he comes from a hardworking family. Felipe tells the story of his grandfather, “My grandfather, Cipriano Piña, was kidnapped in Mexico by the Apaches when he was 8 to 10 years old and brought to Española. He was sold to the Atencio family for three bags of flour. He worked for everything he had.” Felipe Piña’s grandfather would be proud.