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Princeton couple becomes state’s first Lottery millionaires for 2017


Charleston Gazette-Mail

PRINCETON, W.Va. — Every Wednesday and Saturday, Martha Robinson plays the same sets of numbers at the Smoker Friendly store in her hometown of Princeton, hoping, but not necessarily expecting, to bring home a Powerball jackpot.

Martha and Tommy Robinson pose with their $2 million Powerball check. Acting West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers, left, presented them their prize.
(Photo by Kenny Kemp)

“The girls there are so patient with me,” Robinson said.

While the Mercer County woman, who works in Princeton Community Hospital’s supply department and as a part-time cook at Princeton High School, has yet to win Powerball’s top prize, she came close enough to bring home $2 million by matching five of the six winning numbers selected at random during last Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, after paying an extra $1 for the double-your-money Powerplay option on her $2 West Virginia Lottery Powerball ticket.

Hers was the only ticket out of millions sold in 46 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to match all but one number in the multimillion-dollar drawing, according to West Virginia Lottery officials.

“On Thursday morning, I turned on the computer to check the numbers, and it said there was one ($2 million) winner in West Virginia,” Robinson said during a news conference Tuesday in the West Virginia Lottery headquarters building in Charleston. “The numbers looked familiar, and I checked them I don’t know how many times with my numbers.”

When she realized she held the $2 million ticket, “it was real exciting,” Robinson said. “I started shaking all over and laughing and then crying.” Tom Robinson, her husband of 43 years, arrived home from his shift as a truck driver to hear her response to the news and join in the celebration.

The couple said they viewed their Powerball windfall as something that will make their lives and the lives of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren more comfortable and secure, rather than the start of a spending spree.

“We want to pay off all our bills and help out our kids and their kids,” Robinson said. A house with a yard big enough for their dogs to romp in may also be in the couple’s future, she said, and so might a new SUV, “although this might be the first he’s heard of it,” she said, pointing to her husband.

Both plan to keep their jobs “at least for the time being,” Robinson said. “But I will have 30 years on the [hospital] job in October,” which could be a time to re-evaluate, she indicated.

The Robinsons said they plan to continue playing Powerball, using the same sets of numbers they have played for years. The couple said they had previously won $10,000 from the West Virginia Lottery and $50,000 in prize money from the Virginia Lottery.

Tuesday’s news conference gave outgoing acting Lottery Commissioner John Myers what he termed “one last opportunity to introduce a West Virginia couple winning a life-changing amount of money in the West Virginia Lottery.” Myers added that he was happy the Robinsons “were smart enough to pay the extra dollar to get an extra million dollars” by selecting the Powerplay option.

On Saturday, Myers was appointed secretary of the state Department of Administration under new Gov. Jim Justice. Beckley attorney Adam Larrick was named West Virginia Lottery commissioner.


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