Forest Grove resident and Mini Mart owner Jimmie Musselwhite is using a portion of the $10,000 he received from Oregon Lottery officials to give his employees a bonus and help out local homeless people.
Musselwhite and his wife, Sherri, own the Mini Mart at 2705 Pacific Avenue near the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Hawthorne Street. Earlier this month, a Mini Mart employee sold a Powerball lottery ticket to Forest Grove resident Teresa Avalos Gomez, who won $1 million. Store owners who sell winning tickets receive a 1 percent bonus.
Oregon Lottery representatives presented the Musselwhites with their $10,000 check Friday morning, Aug. 18. After 14 years of owning the Mini Mart, the couple has never had such a big lottery winner.
"We were pretty excited and surprised," said Jimmie. "We appreciate all our loyal customers."
The Musselwhites work at the store a lot, along with their daughter, Deborah Musselwhite, and one other employee. Deborah plans to save her bonus in hopes of getting her own place.
Deborah was working when the husband of the $1 million winner came in to check the Powerball ticket. "I think he was just in shock so I was probably more excited than he was," she said. "I held a million dollars in my hand."
Jimmie said his other employee appreciated the extra cash because she works part time for the Forest Grove School District and money runs short in the summer. "We're all a team, I figure," Jimmie said. "It's pretty exciting to just be doing your job and end up with a nice bonus."
Jimmie said they also plan to donate about $1,000 to the Forest Grove Sonrise/United Church of Christ Temporary Emergency Shelter network. The store welcomes a lot of homeless patrons, he said, and the Musselwhites often refer them to the resources the churches provide.
As for Jimmie and Sherri, they plan to close for a weekend in September so they can celebrate Jimmie's 70th birthday with their children. "The money will help us do that," he said.
The Powerball jackpot has increased to $535 million. Numbers will be called Saturday, Aug. 19.