NEW YORK (AP) — A retired New York City firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 has won $5 million on a lottery scratch-off ticket.
Carmelo Mercado was presented with an oversized check Thursday. The 63-year-old gets $3.3 million in a lump-sum payment after taxes are taken out.
Mercado was among the members of Queens Battalion 49 who went to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 2001. He now lives in Orange County, north of New York City.
He was at a Queens store in May when he decided to play the Cash X100 game. His first ticket didn't get him anything, so he decided to buy another, which was the winning ticket.
"I was in shock when I realized I won," Mercado said. "It's a blessing."
He said he already has a list of ideas for what to do with the money, including giving his daughter several American Girl dolls and promising, "This year's Christmas presents will be a little bigger than last year's."
He said he was also planning to buy a vacation home.
"I'm really excited to buy a summer house at Disney," he said. "We go as a family every year, and it will be nice not to have to rent anymore."