Army Veteran Wins $5,000 Trip to Hawaii at Fort Polk Exchange

Hawaii 4FORT POLK – When 10-year Army veteran J.D. Beltz entered for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii through the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, he never thought in a million years he’d be the one to win.

“When they first called me to tell me I won, I didn’t believe it,” Beltz said. “I thought it was a prank call or it wasn’t true, because I never win anything. Once they sent me the email, that kind of validated it. My wife and I couldn’t believe it.”

Beltz, a medically retired Army sergeant and Desert Storm combat veteran living in Leesville, La., was selected from more than 16,000 Exchange shoppers who entered the Darrell Lea/Lucky Country sweepstakes. He was formally presented with his prize during a ceremony on July 29 at the Fort Polk Exchange.

“My wife and I are ready to go,” Beltz said, adding that they’re hoping to take the trip sometime in September. “We’ve already bought our Hawaiian shirts and shorts.”

Fort Polk Exchange General Manager Beth Pritchard said the Exchange couldn’t be happier to present the prize to someone who has sacrificed so much in the name of protecting American freedoms.

“The Exchange is deeply grateful for the bravery and patriotism exhibited by veterans like Mr. Beltz, who put themselves in harm’s way to make sure the future is safer for all Americans,” Pritchard said. “We hope this prize serves as a humble ‘thank you’ to Mr. and Mrs. Beltz for their sacrifice and the selfless love of country they embody.”

Beltz said he wants to send a message to the 22 service members who every day take their own lives – it gets better.

“It can be overcome,” he said. “Good things can happen, and there are better days ahead.”

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The Army & Air Force Exchange Service goes where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives through goods and services provided. Exchange earnings provide dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs. The Exchange is part of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors, responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force through the Chiefs of Staff.  To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at or follow us on Twitter at


Media Notes:

For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Conner Hammett, 214-312-2714 or [email protected].