TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE – Approximately six weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force Base, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service reopened the Exchange doors to a grateful community on Nov. 28, underscoring the organization’s mission of going where the troops go, regardless of location or condition.
“It’s been a real challenge, but we’ve done everything in our power to get the store back open,” said acting General Manager Lillian Pena. “The hard work paid off, and the service members were so happy when we opened those doors. Once again, we are able to support their needs as they work to get their lives back in order.”
The Category 4 hurricane severely damaged the store’s roof and caused flooding. Five days after Michael’s landfall, the Exchange opened a mobile field exchange (MFE)—a store on wheels—providing those assisting with relief efforts supplies including toiletries, snacks and drinks. In the weeks that followed, associates worked tirelessly to get the main Exchange up and running.
On reopening day, a steady stream of Soldiers, Airmen and relief workers bought everything from clothing to linens to sleeping bags and camping equipment. They expressed surprise that the Exchange was already back in business.
“We’ve either had to go pretty far off base or to the mobile exchange to get our daily supplies,” said Tech. Sgt. Jody Brennan, who deployed from Scott Air Force Base to assist with recovery. “For us, the Exchange opening back up gives us the opportunity to get the stuff that we need. But for all of the Airmen that are stationed here it means a lot more. For them it’s a sense of returning back to normalcy, which is very important.”
Most Tyndall Exchange associates suffered damage to their homes and were displaced, yet in the weeks after the hurricane, they still came to work, cleaning the store and doing whatever they could to expedite its reopening.
“These associates are dedicated to their job—taking care of the military,” Pena said. “Many of them had to drive hours each day just to be here, but they are very passionate about what they do, and this store reopening is a testament to that.”
The Express locations on Tyndall suffered more severe damage than the main store and will remain closed while the work continues. With the reopening of the main store, the MFE will cease operations. The main Exchange will be open Monday-Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Facebook-Friendly Version: Six weeks after Hurricane Michael devastated Tyndall Air Force Base, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service reopened the Exchange doors to a grateful community, underscoring the organization’s mission of going where the troops go, regardless of location or condition. Read more: https://wp.me/p9Q7PG-OJ.
— 30 —
Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 61st-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.4 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at http://www.shopmyexchange.com or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ExchangePAO.
For more information or to schedule an interview with an Exchange representative please contact Chris Ward, 214-312-3861 or [email protected].
Follow the Exchange: