Boy wins trip for his grandmother so she can visit at Christmas |

Boy wins trip for his grandmother so she can visit at Christmas

by Merrie Leininger

A Gardnerville boy won the chance to spend Christmas surrounded by his family.

That may sound like something you don’t have to enter a contest for, but Jason Cotton’s grandmother and great-grandmother live in Little Rock, Ark. He and his three siblings have never met their great-grandmother, Elise Wright, who they call Mimi, and only Jason has met his grandmother, Pat Regan, who they call Nanny.

Jason, 12, Marcus, 4, Tyler, 2, and Sydney Rose, 11 months, will spend two whole weeks with their Nanny and Mimi, their father, Bruce’s, mother and grandmother. Nanny works as a house mom for the Arkansas School for the Deaf, a boarding school, so she has the whole two week Christmas vacation off.

Jason, a paper carrier for the Record-Courier, won the two round-trip tickets from IGA in the “Who I Want to Spend Christmas With” essay contest. The 100-word or less essay was supposed to be worded like a letter to Santa.

Jason’s mom, Betty, a housewife, said she saw the announcement in the IGA circular and convinced him to write the “Dear Santa” letter.

Jason said he didn’t expect to win because he doesn’t consider himself a good writer.

“I don’t even have a good English grade,” he said.

He said he just wrote how he would like to make his dad happy for Christmas and they couldn’t afford to travel to Arkansas with all six family members on their budget.

They were notified of Jason’s win by phone. Betty received the phone call right as Jason was walking through the door from school one afternoon.

“She hung up and started yelling at me, ‘We won, we won!'” Jason said.

They didn’t tell Bruce they had entered the contest, only that they were working on a great Christmas present for him.

When Betty told him they had won, he didn’t believe her.

“He called the marketing director for IGA and left a message on his machine, ‘I think my wife is pulling my leg,'” Betty remembered with a smile.

Nanny and Mimi are also “thrilled,” she said. “Nanny still can’t believe she’s coming up here.”

The contest was ran out of IGA stores in Northern California and Northern Nevada, according to Marketing Director John Stott. About 45 children entered during the contest’s first year and Jason’s letter gave them exactly what they wanted, he said.

“It was an excellent letter. It said exactly why he wanted to have his relatives come up for Christmas. It was very heartwarming,” Stott said.

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