Lucky Soldier Wins $1 Million
Though he hit the jackpot Sgt. Wayne Leyde plans to return to Iraq.
Feb. 28, 2008 — -- After completing two tours in Iraq, Sgt. Wayne Leyde won $1 million from a scratch-and-win lotto ticket on Tuesday.
Now that he's won, Leyde, a 26-year-old member of the Washington National Guard, says he's still going to volunteer to go back to Iraq for a third tour and won't spend any of the money in the meantime.
Leyde was driving near his home in Mead, Washington when he stopped at a store on the side of the road and bought a ticket.
"I decided to walk into a local Zip Trip. I got a Coke and beef jerky and walked up to the counter and thought I'd pick up a few scratch tickets and try my luck. I was on my way out when the lady said, 'Do you have a lucky scratch coin?'
"I said 'no, you gave me a dime and nickel back.'"
"She said 'no, try this,'" handing Leyde a penny. "On my way home I started scratching tickets. They were losers. I'm thinking, boy, that lady didn't know what she was talking about."
Leyde couldn't believe it when he scratched a winning ticket, but he still plans to return to Iraq.
"It was a commitment I made about three months ago. I'm going to stick to it," Leyde said about his decision.
The sergeant says rents have gone sky high where he and his parents live in the Mount Spokane area of Washington and that, for now, he's not going to spend any of the money.
"For right now, I'm going to hold off [spending] and let reality sink back to earth. This is a true blessing. I'm going to turn it around and see if I can bless other people with this," Leyde said.