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Firefighter wins cruise for Christmas

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Firefighter wins cruise for Christmas

By Ken Rogers, The Messenger

Paul Outlaw looked at his watch Wednesday afternoon.

The off-duty Troy firefighter, who is also a nurse for Wiregrass Hospice, knew he had missed the drawing for the four-day, three-night cruise that was given away at City Hall as a fund-raiser for the Heart Association.

"I actually thought about calling the station to see if they had heard who won," Outlaw said Thursday at Station 1. "But I figured, nah, I wasn't going to win."

Less than 15 minutes later, his cell phone rang. Meredith McLendon told him he was the winner of Carnival Cruise Line's "Caribbean Fiesta For Two at Sea."

About 300 tickets were sold for the trip at $2 each. Outlaw thought he had a chance.

"I bought more than 20 tickets," he said. "I thought I'd help my odds."

He didn't need to be sold on the idea of a cruise. Outlaw has been on several and is hooked.

"I love cruising," he said. "In fact, I've already booked a big seven-night cruise for our whole family in March. We're going to St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, all over the eastern Caribbean."

Outlaw, his wife, Susan, and Matthew, 13, and Zachary, 7, are all cruise veterans.

"A couple years ago at Family Day we won a cruise and we took them with us," he said. "They loved it so much that we got this big cruise booked for March."

Outlaw said just he and Susan will go on the cruise he just won, however.

"I called her as soon as I hung up with Meredith," he said. "I said remember that cruise they were selling tickets for? I won it. She just said, 'Are you serious?'

"I've been in school, I'm a firefighter and an RN," he said. "Susan's also an RN at Wiregrass Hospice. We need some time away."

Which is why he enjoys cruises so much.

"That's the best vacation there is," he said. "I tell my friends you need to go on a cruise if you ever get the opportunity. No phones. No pagers. When you go on a cruise you're truly away. I'm tickled to death. This made my Christmas."

Another firefighter, Buford Stephens, won last year's cruise contest.

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