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Commuter Idle: A 3-hour trek through 4 'states'

Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 5:10am  ET

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WTOP Commuter Idle finalist Nathan Stanford Sr., finally at the end of his commute, texts his wife to let her know he's made it to work. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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Why Nathan Stanford puts up with his commute

WTOP's Kristi King reports.

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How he does it

WTOP's Kristi King reports.

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Congratulations to Nathan Stanford Sr., winner of WTOP's 2013 Commuter Idle contest! See his story below.

On May 27, Commuter Idle winner Nathan Stanford wrote a blog article on his win. See the excerpt below. For the full article, click here.

People at my work were asking be about my win and when I was going to use my limo ride. My wife and kids were listening to the radio and screaming. My other son and his wife were listening and yelling too. It was fun to hear all of the stories and I am just so excited to win. I know there were plenty of people who could have won even some who did not enter the contest. There are 28 commuter buses in the morning coming into Washington D.C. from Kent Island and if you take an average of 30 people on each bus that is 840 people coming into D.C. in the morning commute.

WASHINGTON - Nathan Stanford Sr.'s computer programming job in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, Va., is nearly 100 miles from his Delaware home. Commuting in the morning takes more than three hours.

In the afternoon, trips can take even longer -- beach traffic destined for Ocean City, Md., and Delaware can clog roads. Casinos and NASCAR events also draw crowds.

Plus, Stanford's not a morning person. But if that's the case, why take a job that requires a 3 a.m. alarm and a horrendous commute?

"So I could have my family live near family members and be near the church I wanted to go to," says Stanford, who lives in Harrington, Del.

Stanford's five-day-a-week journey involves driving from Delaware to a commuter bus lot on Kent Island, Md. The bus takes him to Foggy Bottom in D.C., where he catches a Metro train to Rosslyn. Adding up all his expenses, Stanford says the commute costs about $600 a month.

Stanford and his wife Stacey have three sons.

"My dad's commute stinks because I don't get to see him often," says 9-year-old Christopher, the youngest.

Family sacrifices also include Stacey Stanford losing sleep.

"When Nathan's alarm goes off in the mornings at 3 o'clock I have to make sure that he hears it," she says. "When he finally does go to sleep [at night] he is a very deep sleeper and doesn't always hear his alarm."

Stanford admits it's not easy.

"I'm always looking for options so I can find a telecommute job or a closer-to-home job. Even one or two days a week to telecommute" would be an improvement, he says.

Stanford's current job doesn't allow him to telecommute, and he says computer programming jobs closer to home pay tens of thousands of dollars less. Delaware's lower taxes and cost of living also make it easier for Stacey to be a stay-at-home mom.

If the family lived closer to his job, Stanford says living expenses would force Stacey to work and the children would have to spend time in other people's care.

"I'd rather my wife be able to be the one taking care of the kids, raising them and giving them their family values," he says.

Hear Stanford explain his commute below:

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