Family, friends try to wrap minds around Whitley County native's victory in Survivor

Published: Dec. 20, 2018 at 4:26 PM EST
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There's been a lot of celebrating in a southern Kentucky community Thursday after last night's Survivor winner was announced. The winner of the popular television reality show is from Whitley County - Nick Wilson.

"Yes, I am from Whitley County Kentucky and I am very proud of that," said Wilson.

He almost lost early on but managed to survive until the end, Those he once competed against named him the champion.

"This is something you never expect. Not going to forget it. And no one else is going to forget it either," said Wilson's brother, Noah Rowe.

Nick Wilson is a former public defender and Whitley County native. He has beaten the odds both in his personal life and on the show. He is a huge fan of the show and people said he knew how to play it - how to develop relationships and literally survive to the end.

Rowe is Wilson's younger brother and says their family is still trying to come to grips with the newfound fame.

"Like I said it is one of those things that is too real to believe. It is surreal. You watch the Super Bowl as a fan but forget the next day who won. This, this we will have it forever," said Rowe.

Wilson's sister, Naomi, his father and his girlfriend were all there with him when he won Wednesday night. We talked to Naomi earlier on the phone while on a layover in Las Vegas.

"It was so exciting but it was so nervous, you know, I was so nervous at the same time because I was like, oh Lord please do not let him make it to the final three and not win," Naomi laughed.

Friends and co-workers said they are not at all surprised Wilson found success on the show he watched nearly every season.

"Not only is he intelligent but he is also a great athlete. Hr's a good baseball and football player. He's a track runner. That guy was well equipped for this game," said Ronnie Bowling, a friend and colleague of Wilson.

Rowe said Wilson had three goals: to be an attorney, to be on Survivor and to win Survivor. Now he's done all three.

Commonwealth's Attorney-elect Ronnie Bowling said before Survivor, Wilson had agreed to join his office as Assistant Prosecutor. Despite being a new millionaire, Bowling said he hopes Wilson will still come work for him next year.

Naomi told us Wilson is now on his way back to Kentucky but still has some obligations before Christmas. She also said the show really opened his eyes to how family is the most important thing in life and is looking forward to the holidays.

The mayor said they are discussing how to welcome the star home.