Army Staff Sgt. James W. Allen of Belleville is one of ten members of the military being featured on the new Michigan Heroes instant lottery tickets.
Between May and July 2009, Michigan Lottery players were given the opportunity to submit a photo of themselves, a family member, or friends, who currently serve or has served in the U.S. Military.
More than 250 entries were received, including one from Sgt. Allen’s mother, Ann Marie Allen of Willis Road. When the Michigan Lottery called her, she thought she had won a prize, she said. But when she learned her son would be one of the ten pictures featured on a lottery ticket, she was thrilled.
The promotion is being done to recognize and honor all Michigan men and women who have served in the military, according to the Michigan Lottery office.
The photo on the lottery ticket was taken by Photography by Shannon of Belleville when Allen was still a sergeant.
Allen enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 2004 after graduating from Lincoln High School in 2003. In 2006 he was deployed to Afghanistan as a scout team leader. During his deployment, he sustained injuries from an IED and received the Purple Heart.
After 30 days of rehabilitation, Sgt. Allen continued to serve and earned two Army Commendation medals.
Upon his return to the states, he volunteered for training and spent 12 months completing Sniper School, the Long Range Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course and the U.S. Army Ranger School.
Sgt. Allen was redeployed to Iraq in 2008 where he received his second Purple Heart and a third Army Commendation Medal. S/Sgt. Allen is stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with the 101st Airborne. He is on a brief leave in the Belleville area and will be returning to his Afghanistan post until April 2011.
Plans now call for him to continue to serve in the military until retirement.
Ann Marie Allen said she buys the lottery tickets with her son’s picture at Five Star Market on Willis Road in Sumpter Township.
She said she thanks him every day for serving his country and is very grateful for the modern technology that allows her to see him and talk with him when he is at war.
The $2 Michigan Heroes instant ticket went on sale Oct. 11. Top prizes are $25,000 and the game is eligible for the $1 million Instant Replay second-chance drawing.