Nov. 30, 2012 at 8:37 AM ET
A small town in Missouri is celebrating a local couple's new-found wealth after they reportedly claimed half of the record $587 million Powerball jackpot on Thursday.
David Troutman, a former high school classmate of the winning couple from Dearborn, Mo., spoke with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Friday.
NBC News revealed the couple’s identity later Friday morning, when lottery officials confirmed that Cindy Hill, 51, and her husband Mark were the winners.
“He was just an all-around good guy,’’ Troutman told Guthrie of Mark Hill, 52. “He was into football, sports. I was on Facebook and I saw that his wife had posted, ‘Thank you God, we won the lottery.’ Of course everybody in town, all his friends, gave all thumbs up. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.’’
The couple, who Troutman said are high school sweethearts, have three adult children and a 6-year-old girl they adopted from China. The winning ticket was sold at a gas station in Dearborn. Lottery officials have scheduled a press conference at noon Friday at North Platte High School, where they will most likely announce the names of the winners. The couple's secret identity didn't last long in the town of only 496 people.
“Word spread that he won so fast,’’ Troutman said. “I heard that it was a winner from Dearborn, and by the time I walked in the door my mom was on the phone, and she said, ‘He won. It was him.’ Who knows what the impact will be on Dearborn.’’
The mom of the man who won spoke with NBC News about the overwhelming moment when her daughter-in-law shared the news.
“She came by here and she was shaking when I opened the door,’’ said the woman, whose name was not released publicly.
Dearborn is about 35 miles north of Kansas City, the home of the Royals baseball team. The winning Powerball numbers match the jersey numbers of Royals greats George Brett (5); Mark Gubicza (16); Bo Jackson (22); Dennis Leonard (29), Dan Quisenberry (29); and Willie Wilson (6). Kansas City’s spring training home also happens to be in Arizona, where lottery officials reported the other winning ticket was sold.
Though some theorize that the winners chose the numbers based on the Royals greats, sources told NBC’s Kerry Sanders that the winning tickets were computer-generated.