Garwin woman claims $2 million Powerball prize

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO — Megan Balmer, a nurse from Garwin, won a $2 million Powerball prize with the Monday night drawing.

CLIVE — Iowa’s newest $2 million Powerball winner says she’s looking forward to paying off her house and student loans and planning for retirement. But first, she hopes her sons will be winners with their entries at the local fair.

“They’re taking the livestock to the county fair,” Megan Balmer, of Garwin, said as she claimed her prize Tuesday at Iowa Lottery headquarters in Clive. “They’re taking his heifer, my oldest has a heifer, and my youngest is showing a chicken. It’s his first year at it.”

Balmer, 36, a nurse who works for a home healthcare company, said that she and her boyfriend, Mike Ellis, bought the $2 million-winning ticket Monday night, just before the sales cut-off time for that night’s Powerball drawing. About an hour later, they were at home and she decided to check the results of the easy-pick ticket.

“I had a ticket with multiple plays on it and I saw the numbers, and I double-checked on the website a couple times,” she said. “And then I checked on the app and didn’t quite believe what I was seeing. Then we called my stepmom and we went and checked it at another Casey’s gas station and verified that it was a winner.”

Balmer said it was a race against the clock because they knew the Casey’s store in the nearby community of Toledo would close soon.

“We were hurrying to get there and wanted to check it,” she said. “Because I knew I wouldn’t sleep if I couldn’t know, not that I slept much anyway.”

Ellis said they all went inside and it was quite a scene once they realized the good news.

“I was jumping up and down, teary-eyed,” he said. “I was just super excited.”

Balmer said they were shaken up, in a good way.

“You were in tears, my stepmom was hugging you, I’m tearing up, I don’t even know if I was really listening to what the clerk was saying!” she recalled on Tuesday with Ellis. “Just the shock and disbelief, I guess. We couldn’t believe that something like that would happen to us. It’s not something that happens — ever — to us. We don’t ever have luck like that.”

Balmer said that she and Ellis were so keyed up, they only got a few hours of sleep Monday night, so they decided to claim the prize on Tuesday while her parents helped her sons get their entries to the Tama County Fair.

Balmer’s ticket matched the first five numbers but missed the Powerball to initially win a $1 million prize in the game’s Monday drawing. But because she added the Power Play option to her ticket, her prize at the Match 5 level was multiplied to $2 million. Balmer’s ticket was the only one in the country to win a $2 million prize that night.

Monday’s winning Powerball numbers were: 2-24-34-53-58 and Powerball 13. The Power Play number was 2.

Balmer’s winning ticket was purchased at Casey’s, 201 Eighth St. in Gladbrook. Balmer is looking to the future with her winnings.

“That’s a big goal of mine: to pay off the mortgage, my student loans from nursing school and credit card debt that I’d like to clear up,” she said. “That’s huge. That’s such a relief to be able to say that I did those things.

“And I’ll save some for retirement and my kids for their college,” she said. “That’s right around the corner, I’ll blink and it will be there.”


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