FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – U.S. Navy 3rd Class Petty Officer Roger Jones is home for the holidays.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority and WANE-TV are proud to bring members of the military home for the holidays. Jones is the second member of the military to arrive home via the contest. Senior Airman Brandon Freon came home Dec. 14.
Jones arrived at Fort Wayne International Airport Wednesday night and was greeted by about a dozen family members.
This year’s contest had such a large response the airport authority decided to bring two people home.
“It was a very tough decision this year. We would fly all the contestants home if we could,” said Scott Hinderman, executive director of airports for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority. “These two men have dedicated themselves to our country and deserve to spend time with their families over the holidays, without worrying about the financial implications.”
Jones is a construction mechanic for the U.S. Navy. He’s been in the service for three years and is currently stationed in Spain. Jones said he hasn’t been home in seven months and this will be his first Christmas with his family since he joined the service three years ago.
His father was also in the Navy, but died unexpectedly last year. Jones’ sister wrote the entry for the family and said, “It devastated us all. We have been lost without him but my mother even more so, especially with my brother being stationed in Spain. My brother is a hard worker and would do anything for his country.”
Airport authority officials said the judges were fairly unanimous in selecting Jones’ essay as the winner.
Entries in the “Home for the Holidays” contest had to submit a short essay why their soldier deserved a trip home this season. The winners receive a free roundtrip flight home from anywhere in the world.