Sgt. Wayne Leyde is a hero.
A rich hero.
Last week, the 26-year-old man from Washington state won $1 million on a scratch-off ticket in his state's lottery. And then he showed what kind of man he really is.
A sergeant in the Washington National Guard, he quickly announced plans to bank the money and follow through on a commitment to take his third voluntary tour of Iraq.
Now imagine that: Here's a guy, only 26 years old, and instead of going mad with a million bucks, he's keeping the safety of our nation at the top of his priority list. And if that's not enough, he's already making plans for the money once he returns, according to ABCnews.com.
"This is a true blessing. I'm going to turn it around and see if I can bless other people with this," Sgt. Leyde said.
On the other end of the lottery spectrum are the Harrises from South Georgia. Robert Harris and his wife won $275 million on a single lottery ticket last week. Mr. Harris was succinct in his short term plans: When an Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter asked what he did for a living, Mr. Harris said he used to be an iron worker.
With $275 million on the table, who can blame him?
As for me, I've always said I wouldn't quit working if I hit the lottery. But, boy, would I enjoy the last few hours before I got fired.
One thing I would do with my lottery winnings is fund research to completely eliminate dandelions from the world.
OK, I admit it: I have a problem.
It has rarely been more evident than last weekend as Miriam and I sat on our front porch looking at a swath of freshly seeded grass over our new sewer line. And we saw two totally different pictures. She saw grass that was too tall, pine cones that had been on the ground too long and leaves that needed to be raked up. But all I could see was waves of yellow flowers and fluffy white seed pods.
I'm not sure where my aversion to the evil weed comes from, but it's been there for a long, long time. I can remember getting on my hands and knees in my parents' yard and digging at the deep roots with a metal fork.
Nowadays, the tools of the trade have changed - I've got a sprayer filled with powerful plant poison - but the goal is the same: elimination and eradication. When it comes time to fertilize the yard in a few weeks, I'll fill the spreader with a concoction of two parts fertilizer, one part weed killer and one part fire ant killer. (Did I mention my hatred of fire ants? Count it as my yard obsession number two.)
Anyway, if you see me in the yard with my head down and armed with a sprayer, just let me be. It is man against nuisance, and by the looks of things these days, the nuisance is winning.