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‘Survivor’ Winner Gives Entire Million Dollar Prize to Veterans

by Joe Rutland
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(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

In terms of giving gifts, Survivor 43 winner Mike Gabler decided to go all the way with his million-dollar prize winnings. After being named the winner of the reality TV show competition, Gabler put his entire winnings up to help veterans in their lives. It’s the first time in show history that this has been done.

Gabler, a 52-year-old heart valve specialist, spent time telling viewers his plan before coming up as the winner. For one thing, he did follow through on his own promise after getting named as Sole Survivor.

“There are people who need that money more,” Gabler said in an interview with Jeff Probst as part of the Survivor after-show. In a change from other seasons, the after-show was filmed right after the competition ended. “And I’m going to donate the entire prize — the entire million dollar prize, in my father’s name, Robert Gabler, who was a Green Beret — to veterans in need who are recovering from psychiatric problems, PTSD, and curb the suicide epidemic.

‘Survivor’ Winner Wanted To Do Something Good With His Winnings

“We’re going to save lives and do something good,” Gabler, who is from Kingwood, Texas, said. “Season 43, all of us did this. A million dollars is going to them. We made history guys.” What was the impact of being on Survivor for Gabler and his fellow contestants? “We all have the chance of a lifetime out here, the adventure of a lifetime,” Gabler said. “What we all learned from each other is priceless. It all made us better.”

This Survivor competition took place on the Fiji Islands this season. The season finale had the top five contestants. Besides Gabler, they were Owen Knight, Jesse Lopez, Cassidy Clark, and Karla Cruz Godoy. At this point, Clark, Knight, and Gabler made it to the final three, PEOPLE reports. A 7-1-0 vote from jurors knocked out his final competitors and Gabler becomes the winner.

Specifically, Gabler happens to be the second-oldest winner in show history. He would go on to say that he’s been “fortunate enough to come from a military family.” Probst respectfully asked about his financial situation was at home and taking into consideration his “beautiful gesture.” Gabler notes that he does not come from money. Nonetheless, Gabler also said that he has worked very hard and been very fortunate.

“But you know, I realized being through this experience, I am rich at home. I have an amazing life at home. I have an amazing family,” Gabler said. In conclusion, he said, “(And) I have amazing friends. I need to be a better husband, I need to be a better father, I need to be a better brother, I need to be a better son.”

Outsider.com