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Sunday, May 13, 2012


Steve Cole muses: Just thinking to himself what he would do with a lottery prize of several hundred million dollars.

1. Call my local business lawyer and have the money deposited to a charitable foundation. That foundation would pay me a salary (say $5K a month) to run it. Yes, folks, I fully intend to spend the rest of my life giving away 99% of the money. That, to me, sounds like the most fun I could use it for. (With that income, I can give some of my own nest egg money to my relatives, since I cannot give them money from the charity.) I will give Petrick and Jean ADB and a couple of million as I have to handle all of that money.

2. My biggest project will be to buy a square mile of land on I-40 somewhere within a few miles of Amarillo. On this, I will build a self-sustaining wildlife sanctuary (basically a big zoo) but this "theme park" will also have a full-scale recreation of Stonehenge and the Alamo and maybe a small-size pyramid. It will also have a hotel, gift shop, and restaurant. I will put half of the money into this project (including a trust fund that pays money for operations every year) so that I'll never have to solicit donors or host fundraisers. The park should easily pay for itself in ticket sales and pump loads of tourist dollars into the Amarillo economy while educating people that the private ownership of exotic wild animals is a bad idea.

3. I will become a huge benefactor to other wildlife sanctuary parks around the US and supporter of political moves to prevent unqualified people from keeping exotic pets (such as tigers) in conditions that are not humane. I will ask the other sanctuaries to give me a few of their lions, tigers, wolves, and other animals so that I'm fully stocked on day one and they will have a spare enclosure or two should they need to take in another animal in an emergency. I will pay to move Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary from where they are (nobody can find them) to a new location on I-40 where they can attract enough paying visitors that they'll never have any more trouble with funding.

4. The foundation will pay to have Dave Ramsey come to Amarillo and put on his Get out of Debt and EntreLeadership seminars, and to have a private lunch with me and Leanna.

5. The foundation will give $10,000 a year to a particular faith-based social action group that Chaplain Denton supports and another $10,000 to a faith-based group that he helps run.

6. The foundation will give a $150,000 grant to a small business in Amarillo every year (maybe split it between two or three), selecting one of the applicants from the local Enterprize grant that ADB won a few years ago.

7. The foundation will set up a scholarship in my father's name at my old university for an ROTC cadet taking military engineering. The foundation will send a check to that ROTC department every semester so that no cadet has to pay for the training fund. I will set up a scholarship in my brother's name at his old college (WTAMU) for a graduate student in psychology. I will set up a scholarship in my mother's name at the local school of nursing. I will set up a scholarship in Jean's name at UNC Pembroke so that the library staff there never forget her.

8. I want to fund someone to perform all four Wagner operas in English so I can watch them. I will also throw an annual $10,000 endowment to the local community theater group.

9. I will pass out some $10,000 checks to a few relatives of mine and Leanna's. Family is family.

10. I will give $10,000 to the surviving spouse of any Amarillo-based law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty.