Sunday, July 6, 2014

EX-Priest Wins a Goodly Sum, but Plans to Give it Away

A former holy roller is rolling in cash thanks to $259 million lottery win, but old habits die hard so he intends to donate most of the money to charitable causes.

Tennessee resident, Ray Cockrum, 58, scooped the US Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, June 11, on a ticket he purchased from a Kroger store in Knoxville. He visited the Tennessee Lottery headquarters in Nashville and claimed his prize last Thursday and told lottery officials he plans to give the lion's share of the money to charities and continue to live a simple life. He also stated his intention to start a foundation to benefit the performing arts.

Cockrum used to be a member of Episcopal Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He left the priesthood in 2009 so that he could return to Tennessee and administer to the needs of his elderly parents, but believes the time he spent serving a higher cause has helped him to remain level-headed about the win.

"I really believe the best way to prepare for this tsunami of cash has been to live under a vow of poverty for a number of years," Cockrum said. "It gives great perspective."

Cockrum opted to take the prize as a one-off, lump-sum payment of $115 million.

"I have received great counsel, and I will continue working very hard to make sure every single penny of this prize is a blessing to anyone it touches," he said.

The US Powerball is a multi-state draw that offers a minimum jackpot of $40 million. Numbers are drawn on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 22:59 (EST). The next drawing is on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The estimated jackpot is $122 million.