By Jacqueline M. HamesDecember 24, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 29, 2008) -- A Soldier in the Army National Guard competed in a well-known game show on Christmas day for a prize of up to $1 million.
Staff Sgt. Matt Zedwick, an Iraq veteran and the only living Silver Star recipient in the Oregon National Guard since World War II, competed in a special holiday airing of "Deal or No Deal."
Zedwick appeared with his wife Kristin on the show to compete for a top prize of $1 million. In addition to his wife, Zedwick's brother Dan and friend Ryan Tuttle were there to support him on the stage. Several friends, family members and fellow Soldiers were in the audience cheering him on.
"The show was really fun," Zedwick said, though he was "cooped-up" in a greenroom with only soda and energy drinks to sustain him and his on-stage guests until filming.
Zedwick commented that the show probably wanted to keep him energized for filming, which took three hours.
According to the "Deal or No Deal" Web site, 26 sealed cases containing various amounts of money are presented to the contestant. The contestant picks one to keep or bargain away as he chooses, in hopes that the chosen case contains a large amount of money.
After each round in which a predetermined number of cases are opened, "the Banker" makes the contestant an offer. If the amounts eliminated from the remaining 25 cases are small, the offer gets higher with each round. If the amounts are high, the offer could disappear all together, the Web site explains.
Zedwick won $227,000 on the show and said he will save much of the money he won.
"I'm not going to go out and splurge," he said. A full-time student, Zedwick said he will use the winnings to help pay for college, where he is studying business and marketing with a minor in military science.
Zedwick was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Silver Star after he pulled his squad leader and another Soldier from their burning Humvee after it was hit by an improvised explosive device in 2004.
To honor his achievements further, the Army has incorporated Zedwick as a character in the America's Army Real Heroes program. As part of the program, Zedwick is featured in the America's Army computer game and has his own action figure.
Zedwick believes his experience with the America's Army Real Heroes program helped him to become a contestant on the show. He said the action figure seemed to intrigue producers most of all.
"It was definitely a fun experience," Zedwick said.
The 2-hour special airing of "Deal or No Deal" started at 8 p.m. EST Dec. 25 on NBC.