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Christmas comes early for Eglin Airman with free flight home from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport

Airman 1st Class Sagelee Nichols was presented with a ‘boarding pass’ Monday morning as the winner of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport’s eighth annual “Operation Home for the Holidays” campaign. […]

Airman 1st Class Sagelee Nichols was presented with a ‘boarding pass’ Monday morning as the winner of the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport’s eighth annual “Operation Home for the Holidays” campaign.

  • Nichols, 21, 96th Security Forces Squadron, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base,won a free roundtrip flight home to Sacramento, California, to visit her family over the holidays. She leaves Wednesday.

The promotion, open to enlisted personnel in the region, was launched Nov. 1. One service member is randomly selected to receive air travel to be used in December or January as part of the campaign..

“We couldn’t be happier that an Air Force member won it again and we’re actually sending an Airman  home for the holidays who might not otherwise have had a chance to go home for the holidays, she leaves in a few days,” Airports Director Tracy Stage said.

Stage thanked Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, the county’s liaison to the airport, for her longtime backing of the program and overall support of the Airports.

A beaming Nichols said she was grateful for the opportunity. 

  • “If it wasn’t for the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, I would not have had the chance to go home for the holidays this year,” she said. “I want to thank you all so much for your dedication and for your support.”

Nichols said her mother “was beyond grateful” at the news. “She was so sad to hear that I wasn’t able to come home because of the prices and the fact that it was so soon,” Nichols said.  

Stationed at Eglin since January 2023, Nichols hasn’t been home in a year. She said she was extremely excited to see her family gathered together for Christmas.

“I’m looking forward to finally getting to see my whole family come together as one, and to be able to hear about the stories and the things that they’ve achieved,” Nichols said when asked what it meant to be home for Christmas. “And to explain the things that I’ve achieved over the past year too.”

Okaloosa County Public Information office

Ketchel said the campaign highlights the county’s deep gratitude and appreciation for service members.

  • “Everybody wants to be home with their family at Christmas time,” she said. “Besides the fact that we celebrate the birth of Christ, we want to celebrate it with our family. We couldn’t be happier for A1C Nichols. Have a wonderful time with your family.”

Ketchel also noted that Nichols’ trip back home is the farthest trip awarded in the campaign’s history and summed up the campaign’s eighth year by thanking troops everywhere.

  • “We cannot thank our military enough for the freedoms that they ensure in our nation,” she said. “God bless.”

One Response

  1. I’m so proud of you my sweet girl! All you’ve achieved and all your hard work this past year, you deserved this win so much! We are so grateful for this campaign and can’t wait to have you home for the holidays!!!

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Community Comments

“Would like to know this as well.”
“This is Awesome/ Thank You for Your Service Reuse an Recycle”
“Carolyn, there is two of them this year, the one at the fairgrounds is still on the 27th”
“I thought this was scheduled for April 27th at Fair grounds in FWB.”
“Is there a limit on the amount?”
“Couldn’t the tennis courts be used for Pickle Ball Courts?”
“How come we haven't heard about any charges or anything about the person who hit this lady ?”
“Stayed at the Calypso resort last week. Overran with immaturity. Teens were throwing beer bottles from the balcony and dog shit while kids were swimming in the pools below.”