Menomonie, Wisconsin native Thomas Cook had to make good on a promise made 28 years ago.

Relationships are built on trust and loyalty. Recently, two long-time best friends were able to close out a promise they made to each other almost 30 years ago.

They agreed that if either one of them hit the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings fifty-fifty. They sealed it with an old-fashion handshake.

Menomonie, Wisconsin native Thomas Cook bought a Powerball ticket as he does each week since the game debuted. Almost 30 years into playing, he saw something different about this particular ticket.

He read out the first three numbers and noticed they matched. Overwhelmed with excitement, he handed the ticket over to his wife to confirm he wasn’t in over his head. She looked up in awe, they had won. 

Best Friends Through Thick and Thin

Tom quickly called his best friend Joseph Feeney, who he had made the split-winnings deal with 28 years prior. Joseph was floored. He couldn’t believe it. “Are you jerking my bobber?”, he asked.

After all those weeks, months, and years had passed, they were finally able to call themselves Powerball jackpot winners. The ticket Tom bought for a few bucks was officially worth a whopping $22 million. After taxes, the two men were able to take home roughly $5.7 million each.

After the multi-million-dollar win was confirmed, Tom did what any man would do: he quit his job. Thomas quickly sent in his two weeks notice and retired alongside his buddy Joe, who previously retired from the local fire department and spent most of his time fishing.

With all the excitement cooling off, Tom and Joe were asked how they plan to spend their new-found wealth. Family time. The two would finally have the time and resources to spend on their grandchildren and even great grandchildren. What a way to retire and enjoy the later years of life. 

“Congratulations to Tom, Joe, and their families,” said Wisconsin Lottery Directed Cindy Polzin. “The power of friendship and a handshake has paid off. I’m thrilled for them – their lucky day has arrived!”

Staying True to One’s Promise

Tom and Joe aren’t the only big winners here. Since Tom bought the Powerball winning ticket at Synergy Coop in Menomonie, they too received a one-hundred-thousand dollar incentive for the sale.

The big question for these two big winners was “Are you going to keep playing Powerball even though you hit it big?” Tom gave a loyal response. When asked, he said “I’ve bought two tickets since.” Following some laughter, he continued, “What can I lose? A few bucks.”

How many Powerball tickets can you buy with $5.7 million dollars? Quite a few it seems.

First things first, the men plan on taking their wives on a road trip, like the ones they’ve been on previously. But this time, it looks like a vehicle upgrade is in store. 

Loyalty and companionship go hand-in-hand. It’s no wonder how a relationship like Tom and Joe’s has lasted throughout the years. They made this deal 28 ago and it has finally come time to honour their handshake. Word is bond and if Tom says he’s going to do something, he means it.


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