Waseca couple claims Powerball jackpot

Paul and Sue Rosenau
Paul and Sue Rosenau are Minnesota's newest millionaires. The Rosenaus won $180 million in the Powerball lottery.
MPR Photo/Toni Randolph

Paul and Sue Rosenau are the newest millionaires in Minnesota. The bought the winning Powerball ticket for last Saturday's drawing at a gas station in Faribault.

At a press conference at Minnnesota Lottery headquarters, Paul Rosenau said the couple was ready for bed when the numbers were announced. He said he went upstairs in the couple's Waseca home Saturday night to get the ticket to see if the numbers matched. But he said he didn't have time to get back downstairs. So he had his wife read out the numbers as they appeared on the television set.

"So she started, and I had the ticket in my hand," he said. "And I was watching the numbers as I was walking to the downstairs step. the last number was 40, the Powerball number. When she read that, I was standing at the top of the steps and I said, 'Oh my gosh,' not in those exact words, but pretty close. And she was sitting downstairs, she heard me say that. She said, 'Oh, yeah, right,' because I've done that before to see if I could get a rise out of her, if you know what I mean. I said, 'No, I really think that we won.' She said, 'Yeah, right.'"

Paul said he went downstairs to wait for the numbers to appear on television again, but they never did. Since they don't have Internet access at home, and they wanted to know if they'd really won, they eventually got dressed and drove to Sue Rosenau's job to go online to look up the numbers.

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They'd won, but they still didn't believe it. So they went back home and tried to sleep while waiting for the morning paper to arrive. Paul said he checked and rechecked the numbers several times Sunday morning. He'd hit the jackpot. It amounts to nearly $60 million after taxes as a lump sum payment.

Once the reality set in Rosenau said he called his friend and accountant Monday morning.

"I said, Dale, I've got a problem. I said it's not a bad problem. But I've got a problem and I need your help."

The Rosenaus have lived in Waseca for 22 years and have three adult children. He's a heavy equipment operator, and she's a project manager. They're both 54 years old and plan to remain in Waseca and keep their jobs.

The big win came with big emotions. They celebrated the birth of a new grandchild last Monday, but they're also marking the death of another grandchild. That child, Makayla, died exactly five years before the Rosenaus won the lottery. She suffered from Krabbes disease, a genetic disorder that effects the nervous system.

The Rosenaus say they're not sure what they want to do with their winnings, but they don't want their lives to change.

"We like it the way it is," Paul Rosenau said. "Since we've been in Waseca, with the loss of our granddaughter and other things that have happened we realize that money is probably not as important as friendship and helping others. And that's what we hope to do with it."