Dependent wins Air Force writing contest

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The daughter of an Andersen Air Force Base senior NCO won the Year of the Air Force Family short story under 18 category contest sponsored by Feb. 22 here.

Ashley Nelson, daughter of Master Sgt. Dennis Nelson of the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron, won a laptop computer and gift certificate for a total prize package worth $2,000.

Ashley, a homeschooled high school senior, submitted her short story, "From Sea to Shining Sea!" when her mother read an article about it and encouraged her to enter. She was not notified of her accomplishment until after she arrived at the Andersen AFB teen center and found Col. Tod Fingal, the 36th Wing vice commander, waiting there with a certificate.

"We at Andersen are all proud of the write up that you did," Colonel Fingal said to Ashley during the presentation. "It means a lot ... for us to be able to do our job by having great kids like you and I guarantee you your parents are extremely proud."

"I was very surprised," Ashley said. "I was very happy!"

Keeping the secret wasn't easy for her parents, who got the news several days earlier.

"We found out Friday night, the 19th, so we had to wait all week-end without telling Ashley that she won," Sergeant Nelson said. "She thought she was coming here for a group band picture that she's in at the youth center."

Ashley was saving for a computer when her mom told her about the contest and she decided to go ahead and give it a try and hope for the best, she said. Now that she has a computer, she's got other plans for the money she was saving.

"I'm going to put it toward tuition," she said.

The contest is one of several that will be held in the upcoming months. Each contest has two age categories; those over the age of 18 and those under, and the winners are decided by popular vote. All contests and activities on are being held in honor of the Year of the Air Force Family.

Upcoming contests include a video, photo and music contests. Please see the for more information.