Man Divides $22 Million Jackpot with Friend, Keeping 30-Year Promise

Friends Split Lottery Jackpot
NBC News

A Wisconsin man divided up his lottery winnings and shared them with a friend, keeping a promise he made nearly 30 years ago.

Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney agreed in 1992 that if one of them won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the lottery winnings with each other, NBC News reported.

Cook, of Elk Mound, kept his 28-year-old promise to Feeney when he purchased a winning $22 million Powerball ticket at a gas station in Menomonie in June.

“It was quite an experience. When I read the first two or three numbers, I kind of froze,” he said in an interview Thursday with the Wisconsin Lottery.

As soon as Cook realized he won, he called his friend Feeney. Feeney, of Menomonie, initially thought Cook was joking. Both men would buy lottery tickets every week, but neither would think they would win anything.

“That happened many years ago,” Cook said of their promise. “A handshake’s a handshake, man.”

Both friends chose the cash lump sum option for their prize, amounting to about $16.7 million, according to a Wisconsin Lottery press release. Each of them will take home $5.7 million after taxes.

Cook retired from his job when he won to spend more time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Feeney had already retired from his job at the fire department.

Neither Cook nor Feeney have extravagant plans to spend the money, but both said they want to spend some more time with their families and travel a bit more.

“We can pursue what we feel comfortable with,” Cook said in the interview. “I can’t think of a better way to retire.”

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