Powerball jackpot winner describes his "pure joy"

Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:53am EDT
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By Dave Warner

LAWRENCEVILLE, New Jersey (Reuters) - An immigrant who described years of working more than 15-hour days running a small New Jersey shop, introduced himself to the public after winning the $338 million Powerball jackpot, saying with a broad smile, "My life has changed."

Pedro Quezada, 44, married with five children, was the sole winner of the jackpot drawn on Saturday.

Quezada, who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was 19, spoke before a throng of reporters, photographers and television crews at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters about the years he spent operating a bodega in Passaic, New Jersey.

"Imagine having to wake up every morning at 5 a.m. and close my store at 11 p.m.," the Spanish-speaking Quezada said through a translator.

He was reserved when asked about his future, but said he was looking forward to buying a new car. Asked what he was driving now, he replied with a smile: "My feet."

"All I can say is that I feel very happy, and God has blessed us with this prize," he said.

The sum is the fourth largest jackpot in the history of Powerball, which is played in 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

"I felt pure joy, just happiness," Quezada said.   Continued...

Pedro Quezada, winner of the Powerball lottery, holds up the promotional Powerball jackpot check of $338 million at the end of a news conference at the New Jersey Lottery headquarters in Trenton, March 26, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz