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It’s time to come clean.

FareFlightNWA promised to give free roundtrip flights on Breeze Airways to five Arkansas health care workers who entered our giveaway.

More than 400 people entered, and we decided against going with five winners.

Truth is we selected the first five and got so caught up in the fun of it all that we ended up with eight winners.

Hope that’s OK.

The winners work at hospitals and medical clinics in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Little Rock and Rogers. They will each receive $300 in BreezePoints, compliments of Breeze Airways and the Northwest Arkansas Council’s FareFlightNWA program.

A few of the stories about why our winners want to travel from Northwest Arkansas National Airport to one of the Breeze destinations really stood out.

The Winners

One of our favorite stories came from Kelsey Bounds, who works in community health and research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Fayetteville. She’ll fly Breeze to Tampa with her family of five. Her 5-year-old son has autism and loves the water, she said.

“He watches the movie Moana every day because of his love for the water and has never seen the ocean in real life,” Bounds writes. “I want our kids to experience the ocean, and this would help our family get there.”

Pearlie Marie Alexander, meanwhile, said she wants another chance to celebrate her wedding that happened during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s a nurse in the endocrinology department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

“We were not able to have a formal wedding or a formal honeymoon,” writes Alexander, who says the couple will use the BreezePoints to visit Tampa for the first time.

Erica Johnson, who is a nurse and care coordinator at UAMS in Fayetteville, said she’ll fly Breeze to San Antonio to visit family. She’s been unable to travel due to undergoing cancer treatments, but she’s been cancer-free since June.

Registered nurse Tyler Simpson, who works at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, said she’ll use her BreezePoints to fly to Tampa, a city she’s never visited.

Big Easy Anyone?

About 45% of the people who registered for the giveaway said they’d use their BreezePoints to fly to Tampa if they won. However, half of the winners want to travel to New Orleans.

Lora Hughes, a safety director and respiratory therapist at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville, said she wants to visit friends who live near the Big Easy.

Maria Willox, a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers, has never visited New Orleans and wants to go.

Jessica Parmer, a registered nurse who works in Mercy’s intensive care unit, will let Breeze fly her to New Orleans so she can visit family.

The eighth winner — Mercy nurse Stefanie Nix — traveled to New Orleans for her honeymoon 10 years ago. She’s ready to return.

Highlighting XNA’s offerings

FareFlightNWA, which organized the Breeze flight giveaway, works to encourage Northwest Arkansas travelers to prioritize flying from XNA instead of more distant airports.

In the past year, the program’s focus has been on drawing attention to the flight options of Breeze, Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air. Those low-cost carriers compete for leisure travelers, and all three have added new nonstop routes at XNA this year.

While American, Delta and United carry most business and leisure travelers at XNA, the presence of the low-cost carriers helps decrease the overall cost of flying by creating competition.

Join us in congratulating our winners!  And thanks to all the amazing Arkansas health care workers for serving such important roles in our communities.

Follow @FareflightNWA on Twitter for updates and opportunities for future giveaways.