Whether it was the “Luck of the Irish,” destiny or fate, Megan Thorstenson believes two “angels” also played a part in her becoming the 2020 Montana Millionaire grand-prize winner.
The angels are her beloved grandparents, LaVonna (Connors) Baumgartner, who died Nov. 10, 2018, and Tony Baumgartner, who passed away Sept. 28, 2020.
The news that the grand-prize ticket was sold in Butte was announced Dec. 29 by Jennifer McKee, communications manager for Montana Lottery. A total of 180,000 tickets were sold statewide.
The 28-year-old Butte woman bought her 10 Montana Millionaire tickets early, which was a good thing. By Nov. 21, none were left.
“I took a selfie when I bought them,” Thorstenson said, “and sent the picture to family members.”
The tradition of buying these particular tickets was started years ago by her beloved grandmother, LaVonna.
“My grandma was all about the Montana Lottery and bought them every year,” said Thorstenson, who decided to become the new keeper of the torch.
Six of the purchased tickets went to family members as gifts from her Grandma and her Poppa.
In a way for her to again honor her grandparents, Thorstenson had a different plan for the other four tickets.
The grandparents’ photos adorn a table in the front room of the family home. Two of the tickets were strategically placed near her grandma’s nurse’s hat; the other two near her Poppa’s teddy bear.
One of those four was the golden ticket.
Possessing the winning ticket has not quite set in yet.
“I am still in a little bit of shock,” said Thorstenson.
The young woman graduated in 2011 from Granite County High School in Philipsburg. She currently works at a local restaurant and doesn’t see that ending any time soon.
With just a handful of credits needed to graduate, she does plan to return to college.
“I will probably go back to Montana Tech,” she said.
As for the rest, Thorstenson wants to invest a good deal of the money.
“I am blessed to have a money-smart family,” she explained. “My uncle is going to be my adviser and my cousin is an accountant.”