FORT LEWIS, Wash. (April 25, 2008) - When Cristina Aquino from Olympia was notified that her name was selected out of about 21,000 entries, she could hardly trust her ears.
"At first, I didn't believe it," she said. "I was very surprised."
Aquino was officially recognized as the Otis Trip of a Lifetime sweepstakes winner April 16 at the Fort Lewis Post Exchange.
Command Sergeant Major Daniel R. Willey, garrison command sergeant major; Patrick P. McGhee, Fort Lewis/McChord general manager, Air Force
and Army Exchange Service; and Ed Gravitt, area sales manager for Otis Technology, Inc., which sponsored the contest, were on hand to congratulate Aquino and her husband.
"This is almost like winning the lottery," McGhee said.
The contest ran for five weeks at military clothing stores throughout the world.
As the winner, Aquino will receive an all-expense-paid trip for two anywhere in the world, at a cost of up to $10,000. The trip includes airfare, motel rooms, food and shopping money. "The trip has a lot of flexibility, so the Aquino family will have many options," Gravitt said.
The family could choose to visit more than one country or they could even bring their children with them, as long as the total does not exceed $10,000, he said.
Aquino and her husband, U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Renato Aquino, who works at the Legal Services Office on post, were given the dream trip and contact information to make travel arrangements.
Aquino said they have not taken a vacation since 2002. Although they have not decided for sure where in the world they will go, there are two trips they might take. If trip rules allow, they would like to go on a family trip to Disney World and go back to the Philippines to visit family and friends. It has been several years since they have been there, Aquino said.
"There are companies that talk about taking care of Soldiers, and then there are companies that actually do it," Willey said. "This prize could not have gone to a better couple of folks."
The Aquino family includes two children and in-laws living with them.
Otis, a vendor that sells gun-cleaning equipment, sponsored the sweepstakes.

Barbara L. Sellers: