Firefighters Donate Lottery Winnings to Colleague in Need of Surgery

VIDEO: Mega Millions winners donation will help co-worker get surgery on brain tumor.

Albuquerque firefighter Gilbert Baca. Image: KOAT-TV

Five New Mexico firefighters who together won $10,000 in the Mega Millions lottery last week are donating some of their winnings to a comrade in need of expensive brain surgery.

The five firefighters at Albuquerque Fire Station No. 8 didn't win the big jackpot, but their ticket matched five of the six numbers. That brings a $10,000 award.

"Of course, with it being one day before April Fools' and firefighters being who we are, everybody thought it was a prank," Capt. Jed Hyland told ABC affiliate KOAT-TV.

Rather than keep all the money for themselves, they agreed to donate an undisclosed amount to the Firefighter Survivors Fund and to one Albuquerque firefighter in particular - Vince Cordova.

The 24-year-old Cordova has a rare and aggressive tumor putting pressure on his brain. Although a specialist in Los Angeles is available to remove it, the surgery costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hyland said the firefighters hoped that their donation would motivate others to give to Cordova and the survivors fund.

Gilbert Baca, who trained Cordova at the firefighters' academy, said he had a great attitude about his situation.

"He looks at it as another challenge, like he would a structure fire that we face as firemen," Baca told KOAT-TV. "He's positive and he's strong - that's the kind of man he is."

ABC affiliate KOAT-TV in Albuquerque contributed to this story.

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