Leoti family wins $100,000 in lottery
By ANGIE HAFLICH
If anyone needed a little luck, or divine intervention, as some prefer to call it, it was the Grandstaff family of Leoti.
They have had their share of trying times, but on Thursday, the family's fortune took a turn for the better when Misti Grandstaff purchased a scratch-off lottery ticket for $100,000.
Grandstaff had sent her husband, Robert Grandstaff, to a local convenience store to pick up some things, including a variety of instant scratch lottery tickets, which netted her $106. Since she was on a winning streak, she had him buy another $20 worth, from which she won another $20. This win prompted her to buy a $20 Casino Game Book.
After going grocery shopping and fixing dinner for her husband and three young children, 6-year-old Robert (Max), 4-year-old Jerry and 2-year-old Brilea, Grandstaff began scratching her tickets.
"I had tried them before and hadn't had much luck, and I scratched the five-card draw one, and I was like, 'Oh, I didn't win again.' I started to throw the ticket away, and then I looked at it again and thought, 'Wait a minute. It's all hearts.' And then I saw 10, jack, king, queen, ace," Misti said.
So she showed the ticket to her husband, an Army veteran who played a lot of cards while stationed in Iraq.
He said, "'Well, it's a flush and since it's the top cards, it's a royal flush.'"
At that point, she said she started crying and told her husband she thought she had just won $100,000, and at first, he didn't believe her.
"I guess I was more like flabbergasted and in a state of awe, just really surprised. It was totally unexpected," Robert said.
Grandstaff took the winning ticket to the Presto where she purchased it, and after the clerk made a few unsuccessful, yet tension-filled attempts at scanning it through the Lottery's computer system, the message came up, "You are a winner."
"The clerk said, 'You won. You won,'" Misti said.
He told her that she would have to redeem it at the Kansas Lottery headquarters in Topeka.
"I got into the car and called my mom and dad first ... I was crying, and crying and crying and was like, 'I just won $100,000,'" she said.
She and Robert and her parents, Bernabe and Tracy Montoya, agreed that none of them would be able to sleep after hearing that kind of news, so the four of them made an overnight trip to Topeka so they could redeem the ticket.
"So we went ahead and drove to Topeka and arrived at 4 a.m. We took naps until the Lottery office opened at 8 a.m.," Misti said.
She was told that after paying about 30 percent in state and federal taxes, they will receive approximately $70,000, but that it will go a long way in helping her family.
Financially, the Grandstaffs have had their share of hardship recently. After moving back to Leoti from Florida, they had been staying with relatives prior to moving into a home that Misti said needs a lot of work. She also said that a car that they recently purchased turned out to be a lemon.
Prior to this, Misti had to undergo a costly surgery. Robert is a disabled Army veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2007, when a suicide car bomb exploded next to him while he was serving in Iraq. He also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Because of the nature of his injuries, Robert has been unable to work, so the family has been relying on the disability income he receives, but they said it doesn't quite stretch far enough at times.
"Being able to find peace, not sure what your purpose is anymore, after depression, after the service, it's kind of hard to feel like you belong anywhere, and this happens and it's just a complete shock. You're kind of surprised, like, 'This really happened to me?' That's what I keep saying to myself," Robert said.
He said that finding a house and purchasing a reliable vehicle are at the top of their priority list right now.
"This is the opportunity for us to pay off a vehicle, get a small place to live and actually pay some of the bills off. We have a chance to really have a lot of pressure taken off of us as far as finances are concerned and that would be fantastic," Robert said. "It's just really a Godsend. I guess that's what I'd say about it."
Since moving back to Leoti, prior to winning, Misti said they have received an outpouring of support from the community.
"I would like to thank the whole community of Leoti, who has continued to keep us in their prayers, especially my closest family and friends, the United Methodist Church, Pastor Mike Howard, the church committee. And I would like to thank God, because God is ultimately our provider," Misti said.