It's easier to buy raffle ticket when you've already won

I don't play the lottery any more. A few years ago, I stopped buying tickets. It's not that I don't believe in or have some personal aversion to the lottery, I just found that it messed with my karma.

I used to buy tickets. I'd dream of a condo in Maui, a fancy sports car, the feeling of paying off my mortgage - in cash. It never happened. The occasional $10 was the best I could muster. But after I stopped buying tickets, I found my luck changed. I landed a great new job I love, and things just seemed to be going my way.

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I'd give in and buy a couple of tickets when the jackpot got really big, but inevitably, on Monday, I'd be faced with a bunch of things that had gone wrong. Maybe I'm just superstitious, but I'm not taking any chances.

I didn't overdo buying tickets. It didn't affect other parts of my life. But let's just say if I was still buying them there would be less pressure on funding transit. Lottery tickets are a voluntary tax, but now I do my volunteering elsewhere.

However, I still dream of that fancy car. So when I was walking through the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall on Saturday and saw a really nice Mustang convertible being raffled off, I had to stop for a look.

The Shriners are raffling the car to raise money to help B.C. kids that need specialized medical procedures. These are the guys we see in the parades riding the tiny motorbikes and wearing the tasselled hats. Three Shriners were there, on a warm day, giving their time to sell tickets.

My "no lottery" policy was firmly in place, until I recognized one of the Shriners - Lloyd Jones. Well known as Mr. Poppy in Tsawwassen, he has been active in the Legion and selling poppies outside Thrifty Foods for years.

He regularly shows up in the paper with the oversized cheque handing out a donation or scholarship or bursary.

But my respect for him goes much deeper than his help for our community. He fought

through the Battle of Normandy, fought in Belgium, Holland and Germany in the Second World War. Last year, he, John Budnick and Lock Laurie were awarded the Legion d'Honneur, the highest decoration the French government can bestow. Jones, like so many others of his generation, risked his life so we can live the life we do today.

Watch any documentary on the Second World War and you'll see what a terrifying and tragic time that was. And he lived it. He experienced things no one should experience. He did it for us. And now, he gives his time to make other's lives better every day.

The least I can do is set aside my no lottery policy and buy a ticket from him. So I bought two. We had a nice chat. I mentioned I'd read the article about him in the Sun, and thanked him for his service. A very gracious man, his reply was a humble, "Thank you."

I may not win the car, but helping a veteran with something that matters to him means a lot more to me. But if I do win, guess who gets the first ride.

Thank you, Mr. Jones. Brad Sherwin, MBA has over 25 years' experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He is currently the director of marketing for a national non-profit organization.

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