Written by Alexandra Pirkle
Army & Air Force Exchange Service HQ
Dallas, TX – When Elias Lugo found out he was the grand-prize winner of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s worldwide You Made the Grade sweepstakes, he thought he was dreaming.
“I was shaking because I didn’t think I actually won,” he said.
Elias received his academic excellence prize, a $2,000 Exchange gift card, at a presentation February 1st, 2019 at the Fort Campbell Exchange.
Elias, 14, is the youngest son of retired Army Staff Sgt. Gerson Lugo and his wife, an Army Veteran, Sgt. Brandy Lugo. Staff Sgt. Lugo served 19 years, deploying to Afghanistan twice before retiring in 2017. Sgt. Lugo, a paralegal, separated from the Army in 2006.
Elias found out about his win when his father sent a text to the family’s group chat.
“As soon as Dad texted the group chat that I won, my brother asked me for $500.00,” Elias said.
Elias and his brother both entered the sweepstakes after their mother saw a previous winner’s announcement on the Exchange’s Facebook page.
“This was the first time we’ve entered,” she said. “We were very surprised [Elias won].”
The Exchange also awarded second- and third-place prizes in the sweepstakes. Second-place winner, Douglas Anderson IV, a first-grader at Patterson Road Elementary School in Orcutt, California, received a $1,500 gift card at the Vandenberg Air Force Base Exchange on January 24th. Douglas, 6, is the youngest son of retired Master Sgt. Douglas Anderson.
Third-place winner, Josephine Simmons, earned a $500.00 gift card at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Exchange on January 18th. Josephine, 10, is the daughter of Air Force Master Sgt. William Simmons, who has served for nearly 23 years.
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Luis Reyes, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor, said the Exchange is thrilled to recognize high-achieving students.
“The Exchange is honored to reward these students for their academic excellence,” Reyes said. “Military children work hard to maintain their grades and succeed in school, and we hope these gifts show that their efforts paid off.”
Students can show their qualifying report cards to customer service at their local Exchange to receive a $5.00 gift card and sweepstakes entry form. Students can send You Made the Grade sweepstakes entry forms to:
You Made the Grade
PO Box 227398
Dallas, TX 75222-7398
Drawings are held in June and December.