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A Game Show Jackpot Will Change His Life – But Not His Public-Service Job

By Clyde Weiss and Anders Lindall ·

AFSCME member Delvar Dopson and his wife, Bonnie, hit it big.

They recently won nearly $400,000 on the NBC television game show “The Wall.” But the Bloomington, Illinois, sanitation worker says he’s sticking with his job despite the windfall, proving once again that AFSCME members never quit – not their union and not the communities they proudly serve every day.

“The Wall experience, of course, gave us a financial cushion, but we have always said that we would continue to work our jobs,” Dopson says, “and for me, serve the communities of Bloomington.”

Sanitation worker Delvar Dopson and 3-year-old Brooklyn Andracke. (Photo courtesy Traci Andracke)

Readers of AFSCME Now – and members of Illinois Council 31 – are already familiar with Dopson because of a photo of him and a 3-year-old girl, Brooklyn Andracke, that went viral. It turned him into a media sensation.

The back story: Once a week for a year, Dopson passed the girl’s house on his garbage route, honking his truck’s horn and flashing its headlights as the girl waited for him, smiling and waving as he drove by.

Then, one day in April 2016, the Local 699 member drove by to find the girl and her mother waiting for him. It was the girl’s birthday and she wanted to share a birthday cupcake with Dopson. The resulting photo of the two “became a global sensation,” the AFSCME story read.

“Good Morning America” and “Inside Edition” invited Dopson to appear on their shows. The heart-warming photo also was posted on the city of Bloomington’s Facebook page, which was noticed by Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread manufacturer, according to a story in The Pantagraph.

Nutella then produced a YouTube video about Dopson and the girl that captured the attention of NBC Universal, which invited Dopson and his wife to compete on its game show, described on its website as “built for one purpose – to change people's lives.”

For the Dopsons, winning $399,792 on the show did just that. They told The Pantagraph they plan to buy their first home together, begin a family and support a local nonprofit Dopson leads to help area youths.

And he said he’s sticking with his public service job. AFSCME members never quit – not even when they hit the jackpot.

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