Jim and Carolyn McCullar were the lucky ones who bought a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket worth $190 million at a Safeway Store in Ephrata. They and a winner in Idaho equally split the $380 million jackpot.
The McCullars were introduced at a press conference at Washington Lottery headquarters in Olympia Thursday afternoon and then handed were handed a very big check for $190 million.
Jim McCullar then promptly handed over the oversized check to his wife.
"We've been married 41 years," he said, as his family looked on. "I know what to do with this check."
By choosing the game's lump sum option, they'll be getting a total of $90 million after taxes.
The former Navy and Vietnam Vet said they played family birthdates as their lucky numbers. He was born August 15, 1942; his wife was born April 25, 1947.
"We got one of the (lottery) sheets and I put down the numbers -- 4, 8, 15, 25... I was going to put 42 and then 47 in the Mega ball," Jim McCullar said. "But there is no 47 in the Mega ball so I pulled the 47 back and put the 42 over."
He says he played a second ticket swapping the 25 and 42, which won an additional $150.
"If I'd have played the same number on both games, that guy in Idaho would only be getting a third," he laughed.
McCullar, a retired Boeing instructor and real estate agent, said he was watching the late night news when the numbers were shown. He says he instantly recognized the numbers as his birthday numbers.
"I thought, 'Oh, my good Lord in heaven,' " he said.
McCullar said he went upstairs to tell his wife, careful not to yell and scare her. But it didn't work.
"I was pale, shaking. She thought I was having a heart attack," he said.
She asked him how he was.
He told her: "I'm perfect."
He took her downstairs to the computer desk where the lottery tickets were waiting.
"I told her to look at this (winning numbers on state lottery's website) and look at (the ticket)," he said. "She looked and she studied and she looked and she studied...and then she looked at me and screamed!"
Carolyn asked if it was real.
"I've pinched myself already; we're awake and this is real," Jim McCullar said.
She asked what were they going to do next?
"I have no idea," Jim replied to her, "but we better hide."
When asked what they planned to do with the money, he said his wife wanted a diesel-pusher so "they can hide out." He also said he would hand carry a cashier's check for his sister "for a couple bucks" who is in poor health in Illinois. "She'll be taken care of," he said.
He says his 19-year-old grandson upon hearing the news yelled out "Grandpa! Can I have a pony for Christmas?" -- Jim clarifying that he's pretty sure that meant his grandson wants a 2011 Mustang.
And he said they had been looking around for a new home in the $160,000-$200,000 range. "This morning, we were looking in the $700,000 range, but we're probably not going to buy that house anyway," adding they didn't need that big of a home.
He was also very clear there would be some very generous donations to his favorite charities.
Jim was adamant that he's going to be responsible with the money and that it will create a legacy for his six children, 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
"What this means to me is not that I'm going to fly all over the world and buy my own jet," he said. "The legacy will go generation to generation and generation and my kids and grand kids will not have to worry because... we're not going to blow this."