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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s always exciting when you get to visit the Memphis Zoo, but even more so when you’re surprising someone in need with $1,000.

Our playmaker Karen Latham explained who will be receiving the surprise and why.

“We have a long-time custodian here at the Memphis Zoo, Gyasi, who’s loved by all of us. Recently his home burned down and he pretty much lost everything. I started thinking about the good work you do there with the Pass It On program and so I decided to nominate him,” she said.

After a short stroll through the Zoo, Karen and WREG’s Tim Simpson found Gyasi and explained what was going on.

“I submitted your name and your situation to their Pass It On program and they selected you to be the recipient,” Karen explained.

Not familiar with Pass It On, Gyasi was in for a treat as he pulled $300 from News Channel 3 and $700 from our anonymous donors out of the baton.

Gyasi was very appreciative of his co-workers and the help.

“I need it. Thank you.”

He told Tim about the fire, saying everyone was lucky to have escaped.

“Socket caught afire in the dining room and when I opened my bedroom door, the whole house was on fire, so I just ran through the house trying to get everybody out,” he said. “And I’m just thankful I woke up to get everybody out.”

After the fire employees at the zoo pitched in to help him get back on his feet.

“I’ve been here at the zoo for nine years and everybody kind of looked out for me,” he said. “Just little stuff like clothes, little stuff you need like canned goods, microwave, just something so you can get back on your feet.”

Gyasi is rebounding from the fire with the help of co-workers and friends.