hits state jackpot
Havre Daily News
When Linda Sterner left her job at McLean's Grocery store with five Montana Cash lottery tickets Friday, she wasn't really expecting to be a winner. After all, for almost the entire 11 years she's worked at the store, she's purchased tickets for the game twice a week, every week, and never won anything before.
Sterner's luck changed dramatically for the better this weekend, when the final of those five $1 tickets turned out to be worth $50,000 in Saturday's drawing. She said she and her husband, Dale, plan to leave today for Helena, where they can claim their prize from the Montana Lottery headquarters.
When she checked the numbers in a Sunday newspaper, just like she has so many times before, she could hardly believe her eyes, she said.
"I looked at it like three times, going 'What?'" she said. "I said, 'Dale, you have to check this out.'"
After her husband confirmed what she saw, they decided to call McLean's to do one final check. After getting that third confirmation, it didn't take long before she told everyone she knew, she said.
As exciting as this is, she said, she has known this kind of feeling one other time in her life.
"I felt yesterday like the day I got done with radiation," she said. "I was so happy and excited."
Sterner was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she said, and had to undergo eight chemotherapy treatments and 33 radiation treatments to beat the disease. Some of the winnings will go toward paying the bills associated with the treatments, she said, and she and Dale have been tossing around the idea of buying a new car. But she wants to hold off spending it all in her head until the ticket is out of the safe, taken to Helena, and the money's in her hand. After all, until that moment comes, this is still hard for her to believe.
"I just want to get it and see it first," she said, "and make sure it's the real thing."