And The Winner Is…

This is about the 5th or 6th Giveaway that I have done in my short 2 years of blogging,(I missed my blogaversary somehow. It was a week or so ago) but this is first one where I decided to choose the recipient.

Normally people send in their name, I put the names in a hat(either real or electronic) and the name is drawn. That is a waaayyyyyy easier method.

If you are not aware, this time each person wanting a chance to get the gifts was required to write a short or not so short explanation of why she wanted the training and what it would mean to her.

The women who took the time to write their stories are quite an inspiration.The entries were varied from teachers, to stay at home mommies, to young women just starting out on their own. We had professionals who wanted to be safer on the job and those that were aging and felt a need to increase their odds of survival against a stronger enemy. Stories that made me cry and those that made me smile. Many that made me nod i agreement as I understood their fear and trepidation of taking that first step into the world of firearms. I had a very difficult time choosing, so difficult that I couldn’t do it. I was finally able to narrow the field down to 10 which took me all the way til yesterday to do. Then I sent those 10 onto a panel of 3 other folks. My husband, our very first giveaway winner and a newbie shooter. Those 3 sent me their top choices. All 3 of them picked the same top 4, but in a different orders, so I wrote each name on a piece of paper, put them in my Hoplorati hat and my daughter A, then choose a name. Very complicated system:)

What name did she choose you ask?????

Drum role please…

CONGRATULATIONS TO Ms. Lynda Duke!!!!!!!!

Lynda was gracious enough to allow me to share her story(as were the other 4 and I will be sharing their stories later in the week)

Hi AGirl,
I was really excited to read about this wonderful opportunity for a beginner like me to win firearms training and the other amazing gifts being given away with this contest. It’s not just firearms training class, but training with real experts in the field. I find that to be very exciting. Because I live in Southwest Virginia I could easily travel to Fairfax, Virginia.
To tell you how much this would mean to me and why I really want to win this contest I must first tell you my story on what led me to want to learn all I can about guns and why.
When I was growing up my father hunted and always had guns. I remember a little gun he carried with him when we traveled. My father never taught us girls, (there were three of us with no brothers) anything about guns.  We just knew they were in our home.
It was when I was a teenager that I first began to fear guns. One day my parents were not home and my next door neighbor Donna and I were hanging out. We were outside with a neighbor boy. I can’t remember why but for some reason we were afraid and ran into my house. He was chasing us and going from door to door to try and get in. We were scared enough that I ran and climbed on a chair in my parents bedroom and I got one of my dad’s pistols out of the top of his closet. I don’t even know if it was loaded. I just remember standing at my front door pointing it when the boy got in. I remember shaking and feeling so scared. He backed out pretty quickly. I put the gun back where my dad had hidden it and never told my parents what had happened or what I did. The fear that gripped my heart that day – thinking of the what if’s – paralyzed me as far as guns were concerned. I didn’t want anything to do with them.
The years passed and I got married and had children. My father passed away in July of 1995 and my mom gave all my dad’s guns to each of us girls. My husband locked mine away and we didn’t really mess with it or anything. I had small children and was too afraid to have them in the house because of what had happened when I was a teenager. Then, on December 26, 1996, my oldest sister’s husband committed suicide with one of the guns from my dad’s collection. That was the end for me of ever wanting a gun around. I thought they were too dangerous. My mom felt guilty because she had given the guns to us and asked for them back and got rid of them.
So here I am today, after years of refusing to allow guns in my home, now wanting to learn as much as I can and get a concealed weapons permit and carry. What changed my mind? This…
December 26, 2012 my husband and I were traveling to Florida to visit my son, his wife and our grand baby. We make this trip about every couple of months. As usual, we left home before anything was open. So when we got about a hour down the road we knew the McDonald’s  in Christiansburg right off Interstate 81 would be open for breakfast. We thought we’d grab a biscuit and coffee and use the restroom. We went in and a man had just finished cleaning the ladies’ room. I asked him if it was ok for me to go in. He said yes. My husband went in the men’s room and I went in the ladies’ room. I stopped at the sink when I realized the door opened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a mop start mopping in and out of the room. I stood quietly. I was not about to go into one of the stalls. I was trying to figure out what this man was doing in the restroom since he told me he was done and to go in. He then propped a chair in the door and was working his way in. That chair in the door would cause anyone else to think it was unavailable. I took off out of there and as I went by he said something like, “Oh I was trying to make it smell nicer in there.” All the while my husband had no clue I was feeling threatened. He was in the front of the place ordering our food. Over the next ten-plus hours on that long trip to Florida I thought a lot about what happened. I don’t know what his intentions were? But it scared me enough that I was very fearful every time we stopped on that trip and I needed to go into a restroom alone. That day I realized how vulnerable I am. I thought about my fears and how really irrational they were. I thought about the death of my dear sweet brother-in-law. Yes, it was VERY sad and horrible.  And I am sorry my sister is alone and went through that.
But my thinking changed that day. I had to recognize that him committing suicide wasn’t the gun’s fault. I had to recognize that maybe me getting a gun as a teenager and holding it on someone may have saved me and my friend from a very bad situation. All those years I dwelled on the, “what if’s” and thinking “what if I had shot him.”  But now I think, “what if I saved us?” Another event comes to mind. Just in the last year I was walking out of a store and a truck with three men in it started following me in the parking lot. They blocked my daughter’s van and I had to jump in through back doors.   I am not quite 5′ 2″ and I weigh about 125 pounds. I know I really couldn’t have protected myself if they had done anything.
Well, my husband and I made it to Florida and visited with my son and his in-laws.  Most of them carry. In fact my daughter-in-law’s mother had just purchased “The Judge.” My son showed it to me and I held it. It was a bit heavy for me. Then on New Year’s Day we went out to the grand parents property and the guys went out to shoot. I secretly wanted to give it a try. I didn’t say anything though. We were getting ready to leave and my daughter-in-law told my son she really wanted to shoot his gun before we left. I popped up and said, “Me too!” So we went to where they were all shooting at targets. The first gun I tried was a 22 caliber revolver. Then I shot my son’s Sig Sauer 40 caliber. I LOVED shooting! I felt SO empowered. I even had my husband video me with my phone and I texted it to my son-in-law, the hunter, back in Virginia. He knew how I much I didn’t like guns. I knew that he would NEVER expect to get a video of me shooting. He of course was thrilled. When I got home he showed me his Glock and my husband still had that little gun my dad carried with him all those years ago. That brought tears to my eyes.
I came away from all of that wanting to learn all I can. I want to get my concealed weapons permit. I want to take whatever classes I can find to learn. I want to feel safe and not be afraid. I know if I learn how to handle a gun and all the safety aspects of gun ownership I won’t have those fears.
Right after we got home from Florida I had my husband take me to different gun shops to look at guns and hold them. One thing I learned from shooting that day was how different the various guns feel. I picked up a copy of Women & Guns and promptly devoured it. I watched lots of YouTube video’s and and been reading up on guns women carry. I found the Cornered Cat site and facebook page.
What I “Think” I want is a hammerless revolver.  Something  like a .38 special. But until I can take a class and shoot some different guns I won’t really know. One thing I do know is that I want a pink gun :). As I write this I am about three weeks into recovering from Carpal Tunnel surgery. I have had a lot of time to read about and look at guns. I am going crazy wanting to be healed up so I can get on with my new adventure. Then, last night I ran across the “A Girl and Her Gun” group in my area (Roanoke, VA) and emailed them for info.
Winning the firearms training would change my life and equip me with the knowledge I need to start this journey and develop my new found love for guns.
Thanks so much for considering my story and entry.
Lynda Kay Duke

22 thoughts on “And The Winner Is…

  1. Congrats to you Lynda. Sounds like you have the right attitude. One suggestion I have for you is that you can often rent guns at ranges. It is worth the money to try out loads of different guns because if you are like me – the gun I thought I wanted ended up not being the one – then I did find and eventually purchase ‘the one’. 🙂 Good luck on your journey.

    • Ginger, I am SO excited that I won. I was just re-reading my letter I wrote for this contest and realized I have already changed in my thinking a bit. Since writing this I joined our local A Girl and A Gun shooting league. Have gotten to shoot a few different guns and yes, have changed my thinking on what I want. I no longer want a revolver to carry. And it doesnt have to be pink LOL I have narrowed my gun choice down to wanting a sig sauer p238, I DO want it in the Rosewood/Tribal if I can find it anywhere.

      • Lynda – it’s ever evolving – isn’t it? You mentioned hand/wrist surgery – one nice thing about a revolver is that you dont have to load that magazine or rack the slide. My mother had to trade in her Springfield XDM 9mm because she couldn’t do those things with her arthritis in her hands. I helped her get an Ruger LCR .38 instead. The recoil is not great for her but she can do everything herself. The LCR is my BUG and I have an Ruger SR40C as my EDC. I love it! Another thing to always be thinking about is how easy is it to get holsters! I love my pistol – but when I got it it was so new – there were not many folks making holsters for it – so I got the LCR. Now I do have a nice holster for the SR40c – but that can be a problem – so just keep it in mind! Nice talking to you! 🙂

        • Ginger,
          I lady in my gun group has a Rugar LCR and let me come over and shoot it. It was still a little rough on the wrist. Once I got to try the sig p238 I couldn’t believe how nice it was and easy for me to rack and shoot. Recoil isn’t bad. Your mom might want to try one of those if you can rent one. All this info is great. Thanks

  2. Congrats Ms. A on another great contest! And your Blogaversary!! Nice job all around.

    And congrats to Lynda. Her story reflects virtually every woman who has taken my classes – she feels “uneasy”. Sadly, there is more and more reasons for those feelings. Her choices to find good training, wait to purchase until she has the training and actively searching out new info is a great example to every new shooter!

    Good job Ma’am, good job!!

    • Thank you Bill. I really want to make good use of every gift in this giveaway. It really is. Honor to have been chosen.

  3. Congratulations! My Mom and sister had pretty much the exact same reaction the first time they went shooting, after finding out that my brother and I had corrupted our wives and gotten them hooked. Now they both shoot on a semi-regular basis, and my wife and I have just applied for our CHL’s (not as easy as one would think in Texas!). I second the suggestion to spend a weekend at a range and rent various firearms, both semi-automatic and revolver, and try them out. May cost some to do that, but its a lot better than buying a pretty gun and then hating the feel of it when you shoot.

  4. Thank you everyone for the congratulations. I figured buying a gun is like buying a horse. You might think you know the breed and color you want but until you ride it and see how it feels to you, you really have no clue. One day you try one and you just know its the one.
    I started this journey and every saturday my husband who is also learning about guns would take me to every gun shop in our town. At first I would only look at the gun counters from afar. My husband would ask me if I wanted to go look in the counters and I would decline. Then another trip I finally got the courage up to go up to the counter and look thru the glass at all the guns. I had been reading about some of them but they all looked big to me. Then one trip when the guy behind the counter said can I show you anything I finally said yes and held an Charter Arms pink revolver LOL It seemed way bigger then I imagined. I actually held it like it had a disease 🙂 I then got to go to the first girls night out with A Girl and A Gun group. I wanted to back out but made myself go. Kathy the leader showed me how to shoot and hold the gun. I got to shoot her .22 rugar, a glock and a 38 special. All so very different. I struggled from my recent wrist surgery and realized I needed something I could handle the recoil with. For some reason I was afraid of a semi auto and wanted a revolver but was quickly learning my wrist didnt want a revolver. Then I saw a sig p238 that a NRA instructor had. I got to hold it and boy did it feel nice in my hand. I was then on a mission to get to shoot one and did tons of research. I think I have finally found my future gun.

    • That’s it exactly! I can so relate to the horse-buying issue! There are some who are “okay”, some who are “no way” and then there’s “THE ONE”. That’s exactly how it is with gun buying. Only, once you start, you’ll end up with several of “the one”s.

      Congrats on winning and on all of the steps you’ve already taken to learn about guns.

      (Happy Blogiversary, AGirl)

  5. Congrats, Linda!! I love to read stories like yours. I think we are all scared of things that we aren’t familiar or comfortable with, but I am glad you are working through your fear and discovering the power behind defending yourself. Enjoy your rewards!

    • Thanks Stephanie,
      Even after entering this contest there were still days when I thought, what am I doing? Guns are scary. But I will continue on in this journey. I still can’t imagine wearing a gun at this point but know once I conquer those fears I can do it. Willing this contest means so much to me. I keep saying, I can’t believe I won. Pinch me 🙂

  6. Congratulations Lynda!!!
    I read your story and have to say that I am happier for you to have won the gun, than if I had won it! (well, just a *little* happier) 🙂
    I think you’re going to be a great advocate for women to get involved with our fight to preserve our 2nd Amendment rights!
    Enjoy, my sister in arms….

    • Thank you Sue,
      Since I have started this journey my husband and I have joined the NRA and have been writing our congressmen and whoever we need to right in support of our Second Amendment Right to bear arms. We do agree we all need to become proactive.

  7. Congrats Lynda! I am the first giveaway winner and help choose you as winner. I had to wait until I got home from work to write you a note. If your next few months are anything like mine, hang on! It has been wild and wonderful. It has been fun and very hard at the same time. Last spring, I had my CHL but my confidence was very low. I started with a class called Basic Pistol 2. This weekend, I took a class called Defensive Pistol 2. I now have the skills to compete in an IDPA match. Mind you, I would still come in dead last because my skills need a lot more practice however, I could do it. In a few months, you will be amazed at how far you have come. I will be glad to email back and forth with you if you like, just ask Girl to send you my email, she has it.

    • Thank you SO much Mrs Groundhog for helping to choose me. I am still pinching myself in disbelief. I will get your email addy from AGirl.

  8. I absolutely love, love, love both the pure joy Lynda has and the amazing kindness the rest of you have shown her.

    What a huge positive statement you all make about our community.

    To not win something you want is disappointing. It is unpleasant, but to push that aside and to offer encouragement and words of support to another shows your very high level of character!

    • I am truly Blessed by all the kindness shown to me and especially from others who wanted to win. 🙂

  9. Now I shall don my gentleman’s Unisex Babushka, my flashing neon pink shoes, my sparkler-equipped hula skirt and my musical codpiece and perform the Meeposian Dance of joy in your honor, Lynda. ( No relation to Raoul Duke, I presume?) Seriously, congratulations, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person! Wishing you every good and wonderful thing in the days ahead –

    • Wow, thank you for the “celebration” dance in my honor. You gave me a chuckle for sure :). Nope, not related to Raoul Duke.

  10. Congratulations, Lynda! I’m so happy for you, and incredibly proud of your personal and emotional growth on this journey.

  11. Lynda
    CONGRATS! I am soooo tickled that you had a change of mind about guns. I too had a fear of guns until my husband trained me and then we went to Frontsight for more extensive training. I loved it! Good luck in finding the one (gun). I started out with revolvers, but I now have two semi-automatics and a revolver. We go out and target practice when we have time. Again, good luck to you in all you do.

Comments are closed.