Sergeant's in Kuwait when snowmachine prize arrives

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Dana Elmore, winner of a $6,000 snowmachine in a recent contest, plans on taking the 2002 Polaris 550 for a spin any day now.

Her husband J.T., however, is going to have to wait a while to share in the fun: Three weeks ago, the Air Force staff sergeant was shipped off to Kuwait.

''I'll use it this year, he'll use it next,'' said Elmore, 30, who lives at Eielson Air Force Base. She said she hadn't gotten a chance to tell her husband she won the machine, grand prize in a raffle.

Elmore bought a pair of raffle tickets shortly after Thanksgiving from friends whose son played for an Arctic Lions team.

''I figured we were making a donation, and we won the grand prize,'' she said. ''(My husband) doesn't know about it yet, but when he finds out he's going to be very excited, because he's been wanting to get one.''

Elmore said her husband, who maintains weaponry on F-16 fighter jets, was sent to Kuwait with a large contingent from Eielson. She said the assignment had been set before Sept. 11, and she wasn't sure whether troops stationed in Kuwait would ultimately be involved in, or backing up, efforts in Afghanistan.

''He was supposed to go before it all happened, and I think they are doing support, but I'm not sure,'' she said. ''Their time was coming up anyway.''

The tour of duty is supposed to be three months, but Elmore said it may be extended to six. If that's the case, J.T. won't get to try out the new toy until next winter.

Dana Elmore says she snowmobiled frequently when she was earning a biological sciences graduate degree in Fairbanks, but not recently. ''I used to use them for work,'' she said. ''I haven't in years.''

She said her husband, who has only been up here for 2 1/2 years after six years stationed on Okinawa, has never snowmachined.

There's little doubt she will have the machine broken in by the time he gets back. She plans to go for a spin as soon as holiday demands are taken care of.

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