A retired FDNY firefighter from Queens has just hit a life-changing lottery jackpot. This jackpot comes nearly 14 years after Carmelo Mercado was a first responder to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers back on September 11, 2001. Forced to retire from the FDNY just three years after his heroic contribution to the 9/11 recovery effort due to the incredible toll the World Trade Center attacks took on his body (doctors told him he’s developed a lung disease from his work at Ground Zero), he’s now a multi-millionaire.
Mr. Mercado has opted to take the $3.3 million lump sum of the $5 million dollar jackpot he can now buy his daughter that ‘American Idol Doll’ she’s been asking for. NBC New York has the amazing story:
Carmelo Mercado, a firefighter from Queens who rushed to Ground Zero moments after the second twin tower collapsed and spent two days aiding in search efforts, was presented with a $5 million check Thursday at the New York Lottery’s offices in lower Manhattan.
Mercado said that he hit the lottery after buying two tickets earlier this year. He said the first one didn’t net him a prize. He said when he saw the first digit of the winning scratcher, he had to do a double-take.
“I said, ‘Holy mackerel, that looks like $5 million’,” he said. “My mind went blank. I was in shock.”
The former firefighter says he plans to take a cruise and may buy a house in Florida. He also plans to treat his daughter.
“My daughter asked me, ‘Does that mean I can get an American Girl doll?'” he said. “So I told her, ‘How ’bout 10?'”
He said that the money should also help with any medical expenses that could arise.
Mercado, a 27-year veteran with the FDNY, had to retire in 2004 after being told by doctors he had developed a lung ailment from responding to Ground Zero.
I only wish we could live in a world where good things always happened to great people. This is an amazing story, and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving American hero. I just wish the same luck could fall on his fellow FDNY first responders. If you have any question at all about how much of a hero this man is, get read to get punched in the feels because CHOO CHOO!!! THE FEELS TRAIN IS COMING THROUGH: