PCSgrades, in partnership with Shyft, The Home Depot, Radisson Hotels Americas, and US Logistics, is excited to announce the runner-up winner of their 2021 PCS Story Contest.

During the month of August, military and veteran families were invited to share their most memorable PCS story. Entrants had the chance to win a fully-funded PCS move from Shyft, a major gift card from The Home Depot, or 300,000 Radisson Rewards Americas Points. After receiving hundreds of entries in the contest, a panel of judges evaluated the stories based on entertainment, inspirational, and emotional value.

We hoped to hear real PCS stories from real military families, we certainly did! There were humorous stories of things that went wrong during moves, frustrating stories of families caught in the middle of changing orders, and downright spooky stories of getting lost in the middle of nowhere. We will be sharing the winning stories here on our blog over the next few weeks.

The Runner Up Prize is awarded to the Van Camp family! They will receive a fully-funded PCS move from Shyft and 300,000 Radisson Rewards Americas Points. They will also receive free vehicle transport from US Logistics during their next PCS move. It’s a fitting prize, once you hear about the trouble they had acquiring a vehicle during their previous PCS. Their story was about flying from Hawaii, losing children, a last-minute van rental, and getting hit by a truck:

“In 2016, my family of five had our orders from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii to Atlanta Recruiting Battalion. We only one had one car coming from OCONUS so I had purchased a brand new family car over the internet. The plan was that my Dad would pick it up, drive down to Atlanta the night before, and meet us at the airport in the morning. While we were at the airport in Hawaii, we were about to board the aircraft, and my dad texted he was just starting the drive.

Most times I have flown, they ask for families with small children to board ahead of time because of how cumbersome this is with the three car seats we had in tow. I was surprised after first class when they just announced for all priorities to board. It was a mad rush! My wife had our older son, age four, and our youngest daughter, 2 months, slung. I had our middle child, age two, and began to try and board. Jeffrey, our oldest son, became separated but caught in the flow of traffic and I could hear him yelling in the causeway “Dad… Dad!” but no one was stopping. The steward group even let Jeffrey, in tears, onto the aircraft. As we entered, I had to shift the car seats I was carrying and next thing I know Daniel (middle child) was gone somewhere inside the giant aircraft screaming my name.

My phone starts going nuts in my pocket but I can’t get it because of the two child seats and back pack I am carrying. People are trying to put bags in overheads and our seats are in the very back. I start yelling to my boys to just head to the back of the plane. Suddenly another dad swoops in to help me with the seats and we get settled in the back.
Now I look at my phone: it’s my Dad. The brand new car tire blew out on the highway and the spare tire is not in the space… it’s still at the dealers! That was supposed to be our ride once we arrived in Atlanta and I have to turn my phone off because we are about to take off.

When we land in Atlanta, 10 plus hours later, I have to go try and get a last-minute rental. We finally secure a van, and we have been awake the entire flight because the kids didn’t sleep at the same time. One hour out of Atlanta, a truck slams into the side of the rental car, the police take 45 minutes to get there, the family is exhausted, and we are packed to the gills with suitcases. It was the most memorable PCS: Kids getting separated, a flight from Hawaii to Atlanta with no sleep breaks, our car delayed, last second rental acquisition and then getting hit by a truck (who tried to run). Hopefully we never have something like that again!”

Whew, we hope you never have to go through something like that again either! PCSgrades, ShyftThe Home Depot, Radisson Hotels Americas and US Logistics are all happy that we can help during your next PCS move, and we certainly hope things go more smoothly this time around. Congratulations to the Van Camp family!

The PCS Story Contest judging panel included:
Besa Pinchotti of NMFA (National Military Family Association),
Cameron Cruse of R. Riveter,
Penny Bolden of Blue Star Families,
Lori Simmons of the Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year Program,
Natasha Harth, the 2016 Military Spouse of the Year,
Whitney Armstrong of MSAN (Military Spouse Advocacy Network),
Sam Meek of Sandboxx, and
Maria Reed of Moving with the Military.