Society

Man Under Poverty Vow Wins Tennessee Lottery

| by Jonathan Wolfe

A man who has taken a religious vow of poverty won largest Powerball prize in Tennessee history last week.

Roy Cockrum, 59, was in Nashville on Thursday to claim his $259 million winning ticket. He opted to take a one time, lump sum payment that will make him $115 million richer. Officials say it’s the biggest prize ever won in Tennessee lottery history.

Cockrum pledged to use the money to start a foundation that will fund performing arts efforts around the country. Cockrum worked as an actor and stage manager for 20 years.

After leaving the theatre scene, Cockrum joined The Society of Saint John the Evangelist, a religious community based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. All members of the community take "lifelong vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience in an enduring fellowship."

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Cockrum says his beliefs will guide him to use his earnings to help others, not just enrich himself.

"It's going to be my job to work very hard to make sure that every single penny of this prize is a blessing to whoever it touches," he told ABC News.

What’s a man with a poverty vow doing buying a lottery ticket in the first place? Good question. 

Sources: ABC, Huffington Post