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Couple wins $80 million Powerball jackpot

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    Suttons Bay, MI (WNEM) — A couple from Suttons Bay won the $80 million Powerball jackpot on Sept. 21.

The Michigan Lottery announced the winners during a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Phillip and Dawn Chippewa, the jackpot winners, were in attendance with their seven children and 21 grandchildren.

“We actually feel like we can take care of our family,” Dawn said. “The relief for being able to take care of our family is huge.”

Phillip added, “It just makes life a little easier.”

Phillip, 54, matched all of the winning numbers 01-09-22-36-68 – and the Powerball 22 in the Sept. 21 drawing to win the big prize. He bought the winning ticket at the Barrels & Barrels Party Store, located at 1375 SW Bayshore Drive in Suttons Bay.

“Any time I see the jackpot getting up there I buy a few tickets and hope for the best,” said Phillip. “I stopped at Barrels and Barrels the day of the drawing and almost walked out without buying the tickets, but at the last minute, I decided to get four plays.”

But it wasn’t until the next night he gave another thought to the tickets.

“I was at work and my sister sent me a text saying that someone who played at Barrels and Barrels won the Powerball jackpot,” said Chippewa’s wife, Dawn. “My first thought was: ‘He better have bought some tickets!’

“After I bought the tickets, I had put them away in my truck,” said Phillip. “I ran out to take a look at them and I didn’t have to look past the first line to see I was the winner. Of course, my wife and son thought I was playing a trick, so my son pulled the numbers up on his phone and read them out loud while Dawn and I looked at the ticket together. By the time he was done, we both had tears in our eyes.”

The Chippewas contacted their family to share the good news.

“We called a family meeting and told all seven of our kids the good news,” said Phillip. “There were a lot of emotions in that room because we’ve always put our family first and it hasn’t always been easy, but all of them were so happy for us.

“With seven children and 21 grandchildren, I’ve always said that I might not have the most money, but I am rich with family. Now, I have all the money I’ll ever need and can help my family for generations. That means everything to me.”

Dawn said she is excited to be able to spend time with her grandchildren now that she won’t have to work all the time.

“I’ve been working for 70-hour weeks all the time,” she said.

Phillip took the $80 million jackpot as a one-time lump sum payment of $55.3 million, rather than an annuity. After tax withholdings, he will receive about $42 million.

He plans to buy homes for himself and each of his children and continue to share his winnings with his family. A new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a white Dodge Challenger also are on his shopping list.

“Winning is life changing, but it’s not going to change who we are,” said Phillip, who is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. “My wife and I have been together for 25 years, we’ve always helped others and we’re both still working. Every day when I come to work my boss asks me: ‘Why are you here?’ I just tell him that I was hired to do a job and I’m not going to abandon anyone just because I won. We’ll both retire in time, but we believe in being good to the community that has been so good to us.”

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