Alaska Marine Super Bowl Bound… Hopefully
“I knew the entire time that I was going to win, that we were going to win,” said the effusive Chemene Slay Breiner to her assembled family in the offices of Anchorage Downtown Partnership. Breinier snapped her head back and laughed. Her contagious smile caught with the rest of the room and a playful grin spread across her son’s face.
“She always says she’s going to win,” ribbed her son and U.S. Marine Corporal Jordan Slay. This lighthearted exchange is typical of the two. They have a close bond that is as evident as it is accessible. Slay was born to a military family in Fairbanks, but was raised in Anchorage. Breiner was there shuttling him and his childhood best friend Thomas McIntyre to their sports and school activities at West High. And now, with her son out-of-state following a Division II football carrier, Tommy still comes by the house and Breiner stays involved in the community.
“I was at a committee meeting for the Alaska Airlines Basketball Classic at West High. And Scott [Habberstad] was there from Alaska [Airlines]. I told him that he should by raffle tickets from me,” remembered Breiner. Habberstad, the consummate salesman, bought a roll of tickets for the event, but also sold Chemene an Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. Super Bowl raffle ticket.
With the holidays approaching, Jordan was informed that his unit was heading back for what would be his third tour of duty. Instead of taking his vacation time and going with Marine buddies to a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, Slay used the leave to go back up to Alaska to hang with his mother as she underwent surgery. When this aspect of the story is revealed he demurs from the implication, “I have friends here and it’s nice to be home for the holidays.”
The whole family was on hand for the Downtown KTVA New Year’s Eve celebration at Town Square. They took in the music and entertainment for a while but left for the Captain Cook to get a bird’s eye view of the firework display. Breiner wanted to stay to hear her name called, but ultimately went with the crew.
“What did I say to you though?” asked Chemene. Jordan smiled at his stepfather and then responded that she did tell everyone that they were going to call her any moment now to tell them they won the prize package to Minneapolis to see the big game. The call didn’t come. The family had a wonderful evening. They cherished the time that they had left together and steeled themselves for the fast-approaching deployment. New Year’s Day came and went and by Tuesday Breiner and her husband were at the doctor’s office for the two-week check-up after surgery.
By this point in the narrative, everyone is waiting to hear Chemene gloat. “I was in the waiting room, and I saw a call from a number I didn’t recognize and it was the radio station announcing that we won!” It was as exciting as it was vindicating. Breathless, she called her son and told him that he was indeed going to get to fulfill a life-long dream of attending the Superbowl with his childhood friend Thomas McIntyre.
At publication of this article, Slay still has to get permission to attend the Super Bowl from his commanding officer. With it being so close to deployment, there is an inherent risk. ADP Executive Director Jamie Boring, himself a retired Marine, has already reached out to the Jordan’s post to put in a good word for his fellow Alaskan.