9/11 hero wins $5 million lottery jackpot

A United States hero just won a well-deserved $5 million jackpot with a New York Lottery scratch-off ticket.

Carmelo Mercado of Harriman in Orange County was a NYC firefighter when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11. The 63-year old was forced to retire from the FDNY Battalion 49 after his heroic acts on 9/11 caused his lung ailments.

He's a beneficiary of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health-care funding for firefighters and other brave heroes who suffered ailments in the 6/11 attacks.

Mercado won the lottery with a $20 "Cash X 100" ticket. He told the New York Post that he had planned to only buy one ticket but decided on a whim to buy the second. The second ticket contained the prize. Mercado said:

The father of four says that his experience of rushing into the World Trade Center on 9/11 has made him more of a daredevil. He said:

This reckless mentality led him to purchasing the winning lottery ticket. Mercado was right about never knowing what might happen. We're thrilled to see the money go to such a deserving and heroic person.

Watch this video to see how people like Mercado made the legacy of 9/11 a great testament to what it means to be an American:

The Legacy of September 11th

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