Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007 | 6:57 a.m.
Photo and Story By Tiffany Brown
Chloe Sluis fights back the tears as her coach, Amber Turner, left, and fellow Roseville Skate Town skaters Savannah Shoup, 10, and Donna Moore, right, rush to congratulate her.
Sluis had just finished her first solo skating competition during the 2007 ISI Adult Championships at Fiesta Rancho's SoBe Ice Arena last Sunday. But her mind was halfway around the world in Iraq, where her two sons are serving in the Army.
Skating " helps keep your mind off of it and it helps keep you creative," Sluis said.
The 49-year-old keeps busy raising her youngest child, Amber, 13. She home schools her in Nevada City, Calif., and drives her to Roseville, 70 miles one way, three times a week for skating lessons.
Looking for a way to take her mind off her boys in Iraq, Sluis picked up a pair of skates herself two years ago.
On Sunday, dressed in a shimmery red, white and blue paneled dress falling just below her knees, Sluis floated across the ice to Nichole Nordeman's "Brave." She circled a handmade poster displaying a map of Iraq flanked by pictures of her sons, Spec. Josh Sluis, 20, and Sgt. Gabe Sluis, 22. In her handwriting, it read , "Proud Army Mom of Two."
At the end of her program she skated to the poster and saluted before bowing to the judges.
The small crowd of mostly adult skaters standing around the rink cheered and clapped as Sluis fought back tears exiting the ice.
"I wanted to do good on this one, to honor them and so they would be proud," she said. "It wasn't about me skating, it was about honoring them for being brave."
As almost an afterthought, Sluis won her event as well.