TheGrio's 100: Tyrone Curry, school custodian and coach wins lottery, donates thousands to school

theGRIO's 100 - In 2006, Tyrone Curry won $3.4 million and continued working, even donating $40,000 to the school where he was employed as a janitor to build a race track...

When people fantasize about what they will do after winning the lottery, quitting their job is near the top of the list. You may think that would be especially true for someone who is a custodian. But that’s not the case for real-life custodian Tyrone Curry.

In 2006, Curry won $3.4 million in the Washington State Lottery. He and his wife were bankrupt at the time. Instead of leaving his job as a custodian and track coach at Evergreen High School — positions he held for 34 years — he continued working, and even donated $40,000 to the school to build a new race track.

Curry continued to live in the same small house, installing a heat pump, siding and a new driveway. He also bought a new car. And that was it.

In continuing his role as a track coach, Curry did more than teach students how to run. One student’s mother died of a heart attack just before his graduation. With no father in his life, Curry took on the role, serving as his confidant and even offered to pay the student’s way through college.

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Curry retired last year from the school. But one thing he will leave behind is a lesson on humility and compassion.

Tyrone Curry is making history … as the embodiment of true commitment to serving his community. A Vietnam war veteran who went back into service seven times, Curry believes there’s always something to do and someone to help.

What’s next for Tyrone?

Curry may be retiring, but he still plans to stay involved in the local school system. He was elected to his community’s school board last November.THE GRIO’S Q & A WITH TYRONE CURRY

theGrio: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

Tyrone Curry: Being a strong member of the Highline School Board, so I can do a better job for the students.

What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

I am an M&M memorabilia collector. I love Oreo’s and know the song by heart.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Rain, mud, or blood.”

Where do you get your inspiration?

My mother, and all the students that I have come in contact with.

Who are/were your mentors?

Frank Ahern, my high school and college track coach. Ty Ivy, a friend and girls’ track coach at Evergreen High School. He kept me grounded for 17 years.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

Take one step at a time and keep your eye on the prize with positive thinking.