On December 14, 2022, heart valve specialist Mike Gabler was announced as the winner of Survivor season 43. Over the course of the show, Gabler revealed his intentions to donate the $1 million prize if he won. Still, his announcement to follow through on the donation caught some by surprise.
“There are people who need that money more,” 53-year-old Gabler told Survivor host and executive producer Jeff Probst during the after-show. “And I’m going to donate the entire prize—the entire million-dollar prize, in my father’s name, Robert Gabler, who was a Green Beret—to veterans in need who are recovering from psychiatric problems, PTSD and curb the suicide epidemic.”
Probst asked Gabler about his personal financial situation and home life. “I’ve worked very hard, I’ve been fortunate, but, you know, I realized being through this experience, I am rich at home,” Gabler responded. “I have an amazing life at home. I have an amazing family. I have amazing friends. I need to be a better husband, I need to be a better father, I need to be a better brother, I need to be a better son. I’m going to do all those things just like all of us are going to do that when we go home.”
Gabler went on to note that he is “fortunate enough to come from a military family” and is “forever grateful” to be able to give back to veterans like his father. “We all have the chance of a lifetime out here, the adventure of a lifetime,” Gabler said. “What we all learned from each other is priceless. It all made us better.” Gabler is the second-oldest Survivor winner after Bob Crowley who won season 17 at the age of 57 in 2008.