LINCOLN, Neb. – A group of eight workers from a meat processing plant in Nebraska stepped forward on Wednesday to claim their record $365 million Powerball jackpot prize.
“Life just got a bit more interesting for eight Nebraskans,” Gov. Dave Heineman said before the winners' names were announced at a hotel in Lincoln, where the winning ticket for Saturday's drawing was sold.
The eight will take home $15.5 million lump sum payments after taxes, and most said they do not plan on returning to work at the ConAgra ham and corned beef processing plant.
“I’ve been retired for about four days now,” said Powerball winner Eric Zornes, 40, a former maintenance mechanic who worked at the plant for 10 years.
When asked to describe his reaction to winning, Zornes, a married father of two, said: “I probably couldn’t say the words here.”
Zornes said he’s been participating in the pool, to which everyone chips in $5, for five years.
To media members at the press conference who had been in town a few days awaiting the winners’ identities, Zornes said: “We probably ate breakfast with you a couple times but you guys didn’t know that.”
Chasity Rutjens, 29, packaging superintendent who worked at the plant for 9 1/2 years and is the sole female winner, said of being a millionaire: “We’re still thinking we’re gonna wake up from a dream.”
Rutjens was not alone in her disbelief.
“I thought they were playing a joke on me," Michael Terpstra, the third-shift plant sanitation manager, said of the phone call from his co-workers informing him they'd won. "It’s been different ever since.”
Robert Stewart, 30, agreed: “I didn’t know what to think — still don’t.”
Vietnamese refugee Dung Tran, 34, bought the winning ticket at the U Stop convenience store in Lincoln and the workers each received a photocopy of it to take home.
The other winners are Vietnamese refugee Quang Dao, 56, David Gehle, 53, and Alain Maboussou, 26, a new father and refugee from Central Africa who used to work between 70 and 75 hours a week but now plans to go to school for business administration with a focus in accounting.
“I’m gonna be working for myself now,” said Maboussou, a former maintenance second-shift mechanic who became a father to his first child, Katherine, three months ago. "She's going to be happy for the rest of her life."
The winning numbers drawn Saturday were 15, 17, 43, 44 and 48, with a Powerball number of 29, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association of Des Moines, Iowa, which runs the game for the participating states.
The previous U.S. lottery jackpot record was $363 million for the Big Game, the forerunner of Mega Millions. That was won by two ticket holders in Illinois and Michigan in 2000. Powerball's previous record jackpot, $340 million, was won by an Oregon family in October.
Powerball is played in 28 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Saturday’s drawing was the biggest jackpot on record for any lottery in the United States, and the workers were having a difficult time grasping their new status as the winners of a game with 1 out of 146.1 million odds.
“You never dream something like this will happen," Gehle said. “It’s amazing.”
FOX News' Heather Scroope and The Associated Press contributed to this report.