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PCS Story Contest: 8th Place Winner

by Lizann Lightfoot - November 17th, 2021

PCS Story Contest: 8th Place Winner

PCSgrades, in partnership with Shyft, The Home Depot, Radisson Hotels Americas, and US Logistics, is excited to announce the 8th place winner of our 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 forced to change plans, and 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 8th Place Prize is awarded to Kari Novak! Her family will receive $500 in gift cards from The Home Depot. Her PCS story demonstrates how military spouses learn to laugh when everything goes wrong:

"Okay, so you're moving, but once you get to your next duty station your husband will deploy. A story probably many of us are WAY to familiar with. So what do you do when that happens? Stay put where you are, where you have a support system, where you and your kids are comfortable? Or move? It wasn't a decision we took lightly, but I ended up staying where we were with the intent of PCSing to our next location before my husband returned from his deployment. Besides, how hard could it be to PCS? People do it everyday, surely I can do it by myself. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I was wrong. SO WRONG. Let's all take a moment to laugh at myself. So my movers showed up, and kept asking where the service member was, stating they couldn't move without the service member present. Well, we all know that is a lie. Once we got that situated, three packers came in and packed my house relatively quickly. Although halfway through the day, one of them smoked so much marijuana he came in and said he was "so high, he needed to take a nap." I was at the point in my life where I almost just tucked him into one of the beds or couches just so he could take a power nap and keep going. (Don't worry, I did call his supervisor, who apologized and said the situation would be taken care of.) Although in my mind, I hoped maybe they could take care of it after I PCSd. Okay, so the house is packed, the movers drive off and I breathe a half sigh of relief. Now to get to our new house. will be a door to door move, so I need to get myself, my two children (4 & 2) and my dog 1,000 miles away.

We get to Fort Stewart, sign for our house and live off air mattresses. We live off those air mattresses not just for a few days, but almost two weeks. Results are in.... and the "Door to Door move" was a lie. So two weeks later, our truck gets to Fort Stewart. The movers try to come onto post only to be told they can't. First reason: the truck didn't have proof of insurance. Second reason: the driver had criminal charges against him. However in his words, the court dates hadn't happened, so he wasn't a convicted criminal YET.

We try to call the moving company and the only person who supposedly can send proof of insurance is out of the office for two days. I thought it was a joke at first. So there my moving truck sat for a few days.... I would drive by it looking longingly, thinking about my bed. Once we finally got proof of insurance, I took it into the visitors center where they told me my movers still couldn't get on post. Well, one of them could, but he didn't actually have a drivers license. That was a whole other thing. THERE COMES A POINT IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU LOWER YOUR STANDARDS, AND PCSING WAS ONE OF THEM. I beg the guards to let the movers onto post and sign responsibility for them, stating that I will follow them to my house and back off post. Once they get to my house, I just wanted the beds and dressers set up, everything else can stay in boxes. I just want my stuff in and the movers GONE! They worked fast and I was relieved for that. I followed them off post and went back to my house to start unpacking. Only a few things were broken in the move, but that evening I was SO TIRED. I tucked my boys in, took a shower, admired my bed and plopped down on it. And... it collapsed into a few pieces. DEFEAT. If there was ever a word to describe that day, it was Defeat. Did I fix my bed right away? Absolutely not. I actually called it my nest, that's what it felt like I was crawling into every night. Everything else in the house was ready and set up once my husband returned home except the bed. That was his first item on the honey to-do list. Will I ever PCS by myself again? I'd like to think no. However, being a military spouse has taught me I am so much stronger then I thought I could ever be. Or stupid... I may just be stupid to entertain the thought. But one thing for sure is that military families are resilient!

Whew, we certainly hope your next move goes more smoothly, Kari! PCSgrades, ShyftThe Home DepotRadisson Hotels Americas, and US Logistics are all happy that we can help. Congratulations to the Novak 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.

Lizann Lightfoot

Lizann Lightfoot

Lizann Lightfoot, the "Seasoned Spouse" is a professional writer and speaker for the military community. After two decades with her service member, her family has been through 7 deployments and 6 PCS moves. Lizann has raised 5 children and published several books for military families. Her most recent book is "Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses" published Sept 2021 by Elva Resa. You can find Lizann's articles and resources at