Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin - who also serves as State Fire Marshal - delivered morning remarks to an audience of fire safety educators and firefighters in Asheville, North Carolina on Monday morning. Little did he know that those remarks would prove quite prophetic.
Given how early the breakfast meeting had begun, Commissioner Goodwin reflected on the good-sized crowd that had still chosen to show up.
But he then added:
"And if you know of someone who's missing from here or from work today here in Asheville, then there's a good chance that he or she has won the lottery." (paraphrase)
Later that afternoon, members of the Association and Asheville firefighters were all abuzz when the news broke: a retired Asheville firefighter had, in fact, won more than $141 million in the Powerball lottery and he'd just appeared at a press briefing in Raleigh with state lottery officials.
When Goodwin learned the news while en route from a Monroe luncheon speech and recalled his comment earlier in the day, he wondered: "Maybe I should have predicted two other unlikely events ... world peace, or, that the Chicago Cubs would finally win a World Series after 102 years!"
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P.S. If there is anyone who is deserving of a lottery prize, it is a firefighter. After all, these hometown heroes protect our families, our homes, and our businesses, very often as volunteers for many years.