By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 28, 2001 02:56 PM

Three of the four Powerball winners are stepping forward. They are: Sheryel Hanuman, an “over 40” Minnesota clerk who’s already quit her job; Kentuckian Dave Edwards, 46, whose unemployment benefits were about to run out; and Maine couple Pat Wales, 60, and her husband, Irwin, 70, who plan to buy a new truck. Each has claimed a share of the third largest lottery prize in U.S. history. (The winning numbers drawn on Saturday night were 8, 17, 22, 42, 47 and 21. The odds of a single winner were 80 million-to-1.) “It means a little more freedom,” Hanuman told reporters after Minnesota lottery officials certified her ticket, which she’d purchased at a grocery store in Minneapolis. She also said she called the medical office where she worked and gave notice. Hanuman chose to take the cash option on the lottery prize worth $41.4 million, or $27 million after taxes, lottery officials said. Her husband, a nurse, may continue working, and she said that her three sons aged 9, 10 and 11 could not comprehend their newfound riches. “They wanted $10 each,” she said. In Maine, Wales’s lawyers said that she’s taken time off from her job at a financial company in order to “collect herself.” And talk about lucky stars: On Friday, Wales had won a $1-scratch ticket from one lottery game, and on Saturday she won $5 playing another lottery game. Then, on Saturday night, she learned about the jackpot. When she realized she had a winning ticket, she hid it in a box of Corn Chex cereal for safe keeping. Edwards, meanwhile, who made the round of TV talk and news shows Monday, noted that he had been laid off from his job three months ago. Now he says that he and his fiancée are planning a big wedding — and may fly their guests to an exotic location.