Season 43 ‘Survivor’ winner Mike Gabler announced on Wednesday night during the season’s aftershow that he will be donating the full $1 million prize money to veterans in need.
“Season 43 is a special season because of these special people and because we are going to make history another way. We all have a chance of a lifetime out here. An adventure of a lifetime. What we all learned from each other is priceless. We all made us better.”
Gabler, who is from Kingswood, Texas, is the second player over 50 to win the show and when asked what it felt like to win the grand prize, he stated that “There are people that need that money more.”
“I am going to donate the entire prize, the entire million dollars, in my father’s name, Robert Gabler, who was a Green Beret, to veterans in need, who are struggling from psychiatric problems, PTSD, and curb the suicide epidemic,” Gabler told ‘Survivor’ host Jeff Probst.
In addition to honoring his father, the 53-year-old emphasized that he would also like to honor the rest of his family and friends who have served the country, according to Breitbart.
“You know Jeff, I have been fortunate enough to come from a military family. My father and his brothers were in the military,” the winner explained. “My mother had several brothers in the military. One of my uncles was a CV in Vietnam. I have friends in high school who were in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
According to the U.S. Census, there are roughly 18 million veterans across the country, approximately seven percent of the population.
Suicide rates amongst veterans have fallen in recent years, according to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual report, from a high of 6,796 in 2018 to 6,146 in 2022 thanks to monetary donations from people like Gabler who want to give back to men and women who give their lives to the country.
While suicide remains a pressing issue within the veteran community, PTSD is just as consequential. According to the Bureau of Veterans Affairs, 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. An additional 12 percent of veterans from the Gulf War and 15 percent of veterans from the Vietnam war also suffer from PTSD.
Gabler was willing to give away his prize money for the good of the men and women who served the country valiantly. Veterans need the support of their fellow Americans and people like the ‘Survivor’ winner are setting an example for all of us.
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