Not many of us escaped lottery fever last week as the Mega Millions jackpot skyrocketed to about $640 million. Everyone wanted to get in on the action and we know one firefighter who is very happy his fellow firefighters decided to try their luck.

Firefighters at the Albuquerque Fire Department in New Mexico who correctly picked five of the six numbers won $10,000, which they plan to donate to a fellow firefighter with a brain tumor.

According to Cpt. Jed Hyland, “Everybody at the station agreed that this would be a good opportunity for us to help the firefighters’ survival fund.”

The fund was set up to help raise money for fellow firefighter, 24-year-old Vincent Cordera, who is suffering from a rare and aggressive brain tumor that will kill him if not operated on. The fire station staff and members of the community have been working to raise money for the surgery that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Cordera, who is awaiting surgery in Los Angeles, feels like he’s stumbled on more than lotto fever. “I can’t believe that the fireman bond is so strong,” he said. He is grateful to his firefighting family and for the letters and prayers he has received from people across the country.

Amazingly, the windfall almost didn’t even happen. About 10 minutes before ticket sales for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing closed, five firefighters at the department decided they should pool their resources and grab a few tickets.

Even after playing the numbers, the crew wasn’t exactly on pins and needles. “We were just eating dinner and I had forgotten all about it because what are your chances of winning?” said Lt. Steve Keffer.


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