ASPEN - A man who has been very much down on his luck for the past six years can now be considered incredibly lucky.
Michael Engfors, 60, was born and raised in Aspen. After struggling with alcoholism, losing his business, and getting a divorce, he has been homeless for more than six years.
"Michael has seen a bottom that has pushed him right to the edge," Jeremy Kowalis with the Aspen Homeless Shelter said. "But Michael never gave up. He knew that if he kept pushing on, eventually his luck would change."
His luck did, indeed, change drastically on Friday. He purchased a lottery ticket, scratched off the very first number, and realized he won $500,000.
"It's such a great story, and it's really inspired so many people, because out of all of the people, especially in Aspen, Colorado, that could win half-a-million dollars, it couldn't happen to a better type of person, than somebody who actually uses the homeless shelter, that's for sure," Kowalis said. "I don't think he normally spends $10 a day on a lottery ticket. But he did that day, and it sure paid off."
After verifying that he actually won $500,000 at a gas station on Main St., Engfors went to Saint Mary Catholic Church where he spent one final weekend sleeping on the floor. He then shared the news with a small group of people.
"I asked him what he was gonna do, and he said he wanted to get some skis and he really wanted to connect with his daughter who he hadn't seen in over 20 years," Kowalis said. "He's interested in trying to find out how to go about reaching her and re-connecting with her, now that he's got a little bit more means to do so."
Engfors plans to purchase a plane ticket to go visit his daughter, wherever she may be.
The director of the Aspen Homeless Shelter drove Engfors to Grand Junction Monday to begin the process of collecting his earnings.
(© 2015 KUSA)