JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Instead of spending his prize winnings on bills or fancy vacations, a Jonesboro man said he is saving it for a bigger dream.
Darek Tyler won $50,000 in the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery's 200X instant game.
Tyler bought his winning $20 ticket at the M S Express, 3224 S. Caraway.
"The cashier was like holy smokes, holy smokes," Tyler said.
When he realized he had won, Tyler said he told his mom first.
He said he plans to use the prize to start a non-profit organization to provide rehabilitation help for people with autism, people battling drug issues and veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.
The organization will be an equine center, which uses horses for therapy and an animal rescue center.
Tyler said he came up with the idea when he was eight years old and ever since then he has been working toward this goal.
"I came up with this idea when I was about eight and I said I want to give back," Tyler said. "I came from a family of military. My dad was in the Navy so this is something I really want to do."
Tyler said he knows firsthand how animals can be a great healing tool.
"I love to handle animals and I have some medical issues. I have epilepsy so being around animals helped," Tyler said.
He has even seen the power of animal therapy through his friends.
"I have a friend that had PTSD and he would have episodes every night when he was going to sleep and they did not turn out pretty, I mean it is hard for people with PTSD," Tyler said. "I owned horses though and he would come out to work with them and his PTSD dropped."
Tyler said he feels as if winning this money is a push to open the rehabilitation center.
"It can happen to anyone and you know it's just luck and it shows me that I have goals and here is an opportunity to obtain that goal,
Tyler has put the lottery money in savings and will continue to save until he can make his dream a reality.
"This money is going to be going toward that goal and it is really going to help, it is kind of like I thank God everyday that he gave me this opportunity because he is like here Darek you got a goal lets do it," Tyler said.
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