Navy Veteran Wins The Lotto And Uses Money To Send Latinos To College
Gil Cisneros comes from a long line of service to his country.
Gil's grandfathers were both World War II veterans; his father served in Vietnam.
Gil himself is a decorated former U.S. Naval Officer, recipient of the Navy Commendation Medal, two Navy Achievement Medals, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his exemplary service to his country.
My father served in Vietnam, both my Grandfathers served in WWII.— Gil Cisneros (@GilCisnerosCA) October 9, 2018
I'm proud to have served in the US Navy. The values instilled & lessons learned will stick with me forever. It's why I'll work to strengthen the G.I. Bill & provide veterans the housing & healthcare they deserve. pic.twitter.com/qChHnbs8yF
Now he serves his community in a different way.
After being laid off from his job in shipping and manufacturing at Frito-Lay, the father of two bought a lotto ticket, hoping for the best.
And the best was better than he could have imagined.
Not just a couple bucks or a free ticket - Gil won the Mega Millions Jackpot: $266 million.
With his $90 million lump sum payout, Gil and his family were set for life. They bought a new house. Gil bought a new truck.
Then, it was time to put that money to work for his community, the Latino community.
Gil and his wife Jacki use their millions to send Latino students to college.
Gil, the first in his family to go to college, earned his degree on a Navy scholarship. Now, he wanted to provide scholarship opportunities for others.
The couple started by endowing scholarships for Latino students at their own alma maters (GWU and USC). But they didn't stop there.
Next, they created Generation First Degree Pico Rivera, an initiative to ensure that someone from every Latino household in the city earned a college degree.
Now, they run The Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation, which not only provides scholarships to Latino students, it also focuses on creating a community that supports Latino education by funding research and empowering students.
And his dedication to service continues: He's running to represent his community in Congress.
One-third of his district, California's 39th, is Latino. When they finally elected a Latina representative, she was redistricted and a white Republican was elected. Now Gil is stepping up.
When his sick father, who was exposed to Agent Orange as a soldier in Vietnam, had his health coverage canceled, Gil knew he had to take action. It was unacceptable.
He saw that in his own family and the families around him, people were struggling to get adequate health care, parents were struggling to make a living wage, students were struggling to pay for college, and immigrants and veterans were struggling period.
So Gil decided to run - to make health care and higher education affordable for everyone; to protect DREAMERS, Medicare, and veteran's rights; to enact immigration reform; and increase the minimum wage to give people a real chance at a better life.
UPDATE: GIL WON!
On election day, it looked like Gil had lost to his Republican opponent Young Kim, whose party spent millions smearing Gil with false ads.
But, after ALL the votes had been counted...Gil regained the lead, becoming the 43rd Latino elected to Congress in the 2018 midterms - the most Latinos ever.