Mike “Gabler” Gabler, of Meridian, Idaho, became the second oldest “Survivor” winner in the show’s history last week.
Gabler, who’s worked as a heart valve expert in an operating room at Edwards Lifesciences for almost 20 years, won season 43 of the hit show after proving immensely popular.
According to reports, the 52-year-old didn’t have a single vote cast against him throughout the entire season and was nearly unanimously chosen as the winner by his fellow contestants.
Yet while his triumph is certainly nothing to be sneered at – I mean, getting on such a popular show and then going all the way takes some doing – it’s what he’s elected to do with the prize money that’s arguably elevated his stock even further.
Winners of “Survivor” win not just fame, but also a $1 million prize. It should go without saying that this sort of money can make a huge difference to a lot of contestants – which only increases their incentive to win.
Yet after his big victory, Mike revealed that his plan is donate the entire sum to Veterans in Need. He said he wants to honor his father, Robert Gable.
“We made history here this season,” Gabler said. “Season 43 is a special season because of these special people, and we’re going to make history another way. There are people who need this money more and I’m going to donate the entire prize in my father’s name to Veterans in Need.”
As for his time on the show, Mike described the whole thing as “incredible”.
“Being in Survivor was amazing. It was just an incredible experience. The crew was spectacular,” Gabler said.
“The adventure with those castaways, the people that were on with me this season, were all incredible. I got nothing but great things to say.”
The long running “Survivor” reality show took place on the Fiji Islands again this season.
Mike described himself as being “fortunate enough to come from a military family.”
Of his decision to make the aforementioned donation, Mike told show host Jeff Probst:
“No I’ve worked very hard, I’ve been 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. 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. I’m going to do all those things just like all of us are going to do that when we go home.
“And to take this million dollars in this time period where there’s so much going on in the news that people don’t like to look at, and we go, ‘Well that’s why we’re watching Survivor, because amazing things happen on this show, and we just did another one on season 43.
“We’re going to help veterans in need and we’re going to donate that entire million dollars to them,” Gabler shared. “And I’m forever grateful that we did this. We did this guys.”
Wow! What a fantastic gesture. I for one think Mike Gabler deserves all the praise in the world.
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