Powerball winner Dave Honeywell, aged 53 of Fredericksburg, Virginia was the lucky winner of the $217 million Powerball jackpot drawn on 6th February 2013. This is the second largest lottery win in Virginia. Dave’s winning numbers in the Powerball results were 5, 27, 36, 38, 41 and Powerball 12.
Dave Honeywell was flying out of Richmond International Airport on Superbowl Sunday to go on a business trip to Denver. He had time to kill and noticed that the winning amount for the next Powerball draw was climbing rapidly. Honeywell headed for the Lottery Express self-service machine and decided to play Powerball with a quick pick ticket.
The following morning, before his business meeting, Dave Honeywell checked his ticket. At first he thought he had only won $2 as he had the correct Powerball number but as he checked the numbers from right to left he found that he had won the Powerball jackpot reward.
“Pretty soon my hands were shaking,” Dave said, “I could barely read the ticket anymore.” He then rang his wife, Nancy and said “I think my heart has just starting beating again … we have the Powerball winning ticket.” Nancy later told lottery officials that she thought her husband was having a heart attack when he realised he had the lucky Powerball numbers.
Much calmer about his win was October 2013 $216 million winner Carl Mitchell, however the same can’t be said about his wife who reacted similarly to the Honeywell’s.
The Powerball winner couldn’t come straight home as he was chairing the meetings he was attending. Dave and his wife, Nancy, both work for the Department of Defence where Dave is a computer scientist and Nancy is a project manager.
When Dave arrived back at Richmond International Airport he saw a banner above the Lottery Express self-service machine which stated that the winning ticket had been bought there. Dave smiled quietly to himself, knowing that the winning Powerball lottery Quick Pick ticket was secure in his money belt.
He wanted to take a photograph of the banner but there were too many people milling around. Paula Otto of the Virginia lottery was delighted that a local person had won, “we all said it could be anyone in the world.”
Powerball winner Dave Honeywell came forward on Thursday to claim his $217 million prize. Dave and Nancy opted to take the onetime cash payout of $136.4 million for their Powerball reward. The Honeywell’s were presented with their giant cheque on Valentine’s Day, at the airport where Dave had bought his ticket. They were accompanied by one of their daughters, Christine and two grandsons, Ethan and Shawn. When 10 year old Shawn was asked how he felt when he heard about his grandfather’s win, he said “awesomeness”.
The Honeywell’s were both concerned about the security of their jobs with the cost cuts in the defence budget, Dave said “all our fears are gone now, so we feel much better.” The Powerball winners plan to buy a new car to replace their aging Dodge Neon, buy a retirement home out west, do a bit of travelling and give some money to charity, probably Habitat for Humanity and food donations.
Dave said he will leave his job in a few months when he has finished the project he is working on and Nancy has given two weeks’ notice and can’t wait to retire and not have to get up at 4.00 a.m. every morning to go to work.
Retirement was also one of the first things on $90 million winner Lisa Quam’s mind following her big win in November 2014.
The Dave and Nancy Honeywell Fund has donated $4 million to the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, so that they can ensure the money gets properly used.
Nine local organisations have shared in $266,800 so far given by the Foundation. Stafford Emergency Relief through Volunteer Efforts (SERVE) have received $60,000 to start building a warehouse for the food donations they receive. At the moment they are piled up in offices and any available space. $60,000 has also been donated to the Greater Fredericksburg Habitat for Humanity which is one of the Honeywell’s special projects. It was the first project they mentioned when they knew of their lottery win thanks to their lucky Powerball numbers.
$30,000 each has gone to the Micah Ecumenical Ministries and the Rappahannock Goodwill Industries. The latter helps people with disabilities to acquire skills, so that they can be employed and self supporting. They have put the money towards a new technology lending library, where people can try out different computers, keyboards, adjustable chairs and other products.
Powerball winners Dave and Nancy Honeywell are certainly ensuring that their money is being put to good use and have shied away from media attention since their win.
It isn’t uncommon for big winners to want to keep themselves to themselves as $228.4 million winner Vinh Nguyen showed when he only released a brief statement following his September 2014 draw and requested privacy.