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This Christmas is going to go down in the record books for Scott Rowe, 35, and his family.
The Nolanville resident and Army veteran was presented with a $1 million check Wednesday after winning Old Navy’s Overnight Millionaire Black Friday Sweepstakes.
“When I got the call after picking up my mom from the Killeen airport I thought it was a prank,” he said about the call that changed his life Nov. 29. “You fill out those sweepstakes forms and then you forget about it because the odds of you actually winning are not possible.”
His mom, Lynda Rowe-Stender, got on the phone to vet the call.
“I told the lady on the phone to swear on her mother’s life that this wasn’t a joke,” said the Michigan native who flew into Texas on her birthday. “This is the best birthday gift ever. I couldn’t be happier for my son.”
Julie Luker, Old Navy spokesperson, said Rowe was randomly selected from more than 500,000 sweepstakes entrants from stores across North America. The first 500 people who entered an Old Navy store on Black Friday were given a game piece, which they later had to register online to be eligible for the grand prize.
“When the call came through I thought to myself ‘there is no way this is happening to me,’” he said. “The good Lord has shined down on me and my family and blessed us with this.”
Slated to go back to Afghanistan in 11 days as a contractor to resume training explosive detection dogs, Rowe submitted his letter of resignation after learning he was a millionaire.
“This is the first time in four years I will be home for Christmas,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to spending quality time at home with my family.”
His daughters, Paityn, 6, and Keiley, 7, received an early Christmas gift this year: Being able to open-up gifts together as a family.
“I’m really happy my daddy doesn’t have to go back to Afghanistan,” Paityn said.
Keiley said she is looking forward to opening presents face-to-face this year, instead of via Skype.
Despite being a $1 million richer, Rowe’s No. 1 objective with the money is to secure his daughters’ futures.
“I can set them up to go to college now without having to worry,” he said. “Sure I’ll buy some things here and there, and we will go on some family trips, but my No. 1 priority is my girls and their wellbeing.”
Now that his financial future is secure, Rowe said he plans on furthering his own education and his dream of attending the police academy is now a very real possibility.
Nikki Mooneyham-Rowe, his children’s mother, said she wants him to enjoy the money.
“I’ve been acting as both mom and dad for the past five years and now he gets to stay home and be their dad again,” she said. “He really deserves this.”