Lady luck was smiling upon Chuck Thomas, grand prize winner of a 2012 Ford F-150 from Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Miller Lite.

Thomas, an Air Force retiree, and his wife, Linda, traveled from their home in Round Rock to Fort Hood on Friday to retrieve their prize at the Clear Creek Main Exchange. Instead of the truck, Thomas opted for the monetary value, so AAFES presented him with a $24,500 check.

“When they called, we were worried about it being a scam,” Thomas said. He plans to use the money to purchase a 2013 model truck that the couple and their two dogs can take camping.

“We were very much (surprised),” he said. “We want to thank (Miller Lite) and AAFES for sponsoring this and supporting the military and veterans.”

Paula Gunderson, general manager of the Fort Hood Exchange, said they get winners quite often at Fort Hood, but it’s not usually for the grand prize. Thomas entered the nationwide contest online in June.

“I’m really excited,” Gunderson said.

Cathy Orona, Clear Creek store manager, agreed.

“It’s a great opportunity and a great honor. We are very pleased when we are able to give a prize of this magnitude,” Orona said.

Other AAFES sweepstakes can be found at

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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