PCSgrades, in partnership with Shyft, The Home Depot, Radisson Hotels Americas, and US Logistics, is excited to announce the 3rd place 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, and 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 3rd Place Prize is awarded to Danielle Gibson and her Army family! They will receive $1,000 in gift cards from The Home Depot, plus 300,000 Radisson Rewards Americas Points to use during a future hotel stay. Their story includes almost everything that can possibly go wrong when a moving date gets delayed, plus replacing seven total tires during their cross-country drive:

“It all begin with the birth of our 6th baby (who came to us via embryo adoption) while my husband was finishing up his command. We had movers lined up and everything seemed to be going on track. Movers came and packed us up (so far so good!) We planned to live in an empty house for about a week before we would be driving away with a 4-week old baby–and we thought that would be the stressful part of all this, ha!

About two days before our anticipated leave date, we found out we would not be changing out command as planned. Ok, that’s fine we can handle this. We extend with housing for four more days. The kids and I keep roughing it in an empty house. Well, this started the most stressful next two weeks for my husband. He rarely came home. I canceled all our hotel reservations (which I had booked months before). I kept the kids busy, but eventually housing needed us out as well. We started the process of getting everything cleaned (again) since this was a week after our first deep cleaning.

Several weeks before my due date, I had gotten all the mini blinds to replace the ones we had broken….which was about 10. My mom and I had gotten them while she was in town and I was feeling pretty proud of myself for being so prepared. I wanted to wait until the last minute to replace them since I didn’t want one broken again. Late the night before the move, my husband gets home and starts to hang them. Got one installed. Pulled it down and low and behold….it’s two inches too short! We paid for all the broken blinds since the ones I bought clearly didn’t fit.

Next, we got a hotel off post. The kids and I cleaned the house and were still loading up the stuff we needed in our camper as housing came to inspect. At this point, I’ve got kids packing the van and trying to load in the last of it while housing is inspecting the house, so they could have charged me anything. We just needed out! Also this was July in Kansas. It’s hot! Finally, we were all moved out and head over to the hotel. What do you know: the A/C in our van starts LOSING it’s mind. It was SO loud and blowing hot air. Again…it’s Kansas…and hot. I texted my husband and then got checked into the hotel. That was an event. We made quite a scene while we unloaded all our gear including the insane amount needed for a newborn.

Once we got settled in the hotel, I looked for fun things to do, since by this point I had also canceled the summer camp we had our kids registered for and the sports camp the following week. I found a local church having VBS, so the kids had some fun during the day while I finished getting us ready for the cross country move. Back to our AC-less van. Fortunately, my husband is good with vehicles, but he needs to order parts. For the next four days, I drive all over town–on and off post–with the A/C freaking out. It’s so loud the gate guards can hardly hear me when we come though the gate. It’s so embarrassing, but finally we get that fixed. All while living in a hotel.

Finally the day comes, we are getting outta dodge! We load up all our stuff, check out of the hotel, get our dogs from a very kind friend who had been watching them, pack my son’s pet frogs, five big kids and a newborn and away we go! We get less than one hour down the road and we blow a tire. Ok no problem, we have a spare. We start fixing it and realize we need a particular tool. So we leave the camper, drive up the road, get the tool, come back and fix the flat. (In almost 100 degree weather.) Once it’s all fixed, we are feeling good. We are moving now. Well, for a few hours. Then we blow another tire. Same process (since we had replaced the one spare) and after about an hour, it blows again. We don’t have another spare at this point and it’s late. We got all of four hours the first day of our six-day drive from KS to WA. We limp our way into a hotel. The next morning, we get it to a shop and get all new tires (for a grand total of 7 tires purchased up to this point) so we have 4 heavy duty tires and a good spare.”

PCSgrades, ShyftThe Home DepotRadisson 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 Gibson 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.