KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The United Service Organizations is brightening the holidays for 16 lucky servicemembers.

The USO has awarded those Europe-based and deployed servicemembers roundtrip tickets to the States. The “Home for the Holidays Sweepstakes” was sponsored by the USO Europe, United Airlines and SATO Travel.

A total of $17,000 was donated for the contest, said Jake Jacobs, coordinator for USO Europe.

Winners were selected from more than 200 servicemembers who e-mailed their rank, unit, location and a short explanation of why they want to go home free for the holidays. The contest was open to single enlisted servicemembers who are E-5s and below.

“It was funding (that was one of the biggest reasons); a lot of them were short on funds to go home for the holidays,” Jacobs said. “A lot of them had single moms or dads back home and they wanted to spend time back home with them. One winner had seven brothers and sisters and he was missing them desperately.”

Winners included servicemembers based in Germany, England, Belgium, Spain, Iraq, Bahrain and Italy.

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