Soldier wins $5,000 vacation

August 13, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

By Tim Pfarr
It was Aug. 11, 2008, when Newcastle resident Ben McGrann found out he had to return to Iraq.
“It’s not the easiest pill to swallow,” said Genevieve McGrann, Ben’s wife, recalling when she found out her husband would be returning to active duty. She had given birth to their first child, Logan, just three months earlier.
Although Ben McGrann, 30, did not leave until the following February, he ultimately missed watching his son take his first steps, celebrate his first birthday and lose his first tooth.
However, during his second tour in Iraq, Ben McGrann discovered a contest called Save Our Summer Vacation. The program, sponsored by the Web site HomeAway.com, required applicants to submit an essay describing why he or she was in need of a vacation. All told, 1,303 people submitted essays, and the top contestants were selected by a public vote.
Ben McGrann wrote his piece and won second place, winning $5,000 for a vacation at a destination of his choice.
“To be in the top three just blew my mind,” Ben McGrann said.
The top three contestants received money for a vacation; the grand-prize winner received $10,000.
The McGranns plan to take a vacation to Hawaii sometime shortly after Ben returns from Iraq in February.
“We love to be on the water, and we love boating,” Ben McGrann said about why he and his family picked Hawaii.
Ben McGrann received an ROTC scholarship from Pacific Lutheran University, and this scholarship required him to serve his country with eight years of military service. The scholarship also required he be on active duty for at least four of those eight years.
Ben McGrann was on active duty from April 2002 to April 2006, and he was stationed in Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004. When he was not in Iraq, he was stationed in Baumholder, Germany.
After completing four years of active duty, Ben McGrann returned home and joined the Inactive Ready Reserve to complete his final four years of required service. He was one of several hundred inactive soldiers across the country called upon to return to active duty in August 2008. He will complete his eight years of service in April 2010.

It was Aug. 11, 2008, when Newcastle resident Ben McGrann found out he had to return to Iraq.

“It’s not the easiest pill to swallow,” said Genevieve McGrann, Ben’s wife, recalling when she found out her husband would be returning to active duty. She had given birth to their first child, Logan, just three months earlier.

Although Ben McGrann, 30, did not leave until the following February, he ultimately missed watching his son take his first steps, celebrate his first birthday and lose his first tooth.

However, during his second tour in Iraq, Ben McGrann discovered a contest called Save Our Summer Vacation. The program, sponsored by the Web site HomeAway.com, required applicants to submit an essay describing why he or she was in need of a vacation. All told, 1,303 people submitted essays, and the top contestants were selected by a public vote.

Ben McGrann wrote his piece and won second place, winning $5,000 for a vacation at a destination of his choice.

“To be in the top three just blew my mind,” Ben McGrann said.

The top three contestants received money for a vacation; the grand-prize winner received $10,000.

The McGranns plan to take a vacation to Hawaii sometime shortly after Ben returns from Iraq in February.

“We love to be on the water, and we love boating,” Ben McGrann said about why he and his family picked Hawaii.

Ben McGrann received an ROTC scholarship from Pacific Lutheran University, and this scholarship required him to serve his country with eight years of military service. The scholarship also required he be on active duty for at least four of those eight years.

Ben McGrann was on active duty from April 2002 to April 2006, and he was stationed in Iraq from May 2003 to July 2004. When he was not in Iraq, he was stationed in Baumholder, Germany.

After completing four years of active duty, Ben McGrann returned home and joined the Inactive Ready Reserve to complete his final four years of required service. He was one of several hundred inactive soldiers across the country called upon to return to active duty in August 2008. He will complete his eight years of service in April 2010.

Comments

Got something to say?