Family Serving Family: From Airman to Exchange Associate: ‘It Just Fits’

Rhodes assists HR’s Andrew Keilholz on a project.

To Marcia Rhodes, joining the Exchange family as the HR Directorate’s communications manager was like coming home.

“Joining the Exchange family as a new associate, you get a sense of camaraderie from the moment you start the candidate interview process to the moment you step into the building for the first time,” said Rhodes, who joined the organization in November 2016. “It’s hard to find a civilian workforce that simulates the military environment, but the Exchange comes very close.

“Simply put, it just fits.”

In Rhodes’ family, the military runs deep. Her stepfather, who was a Sailor, instilled military discipline in Rhodes and her siblings.

“I learned so much from him,” Rhodes said, years later. “He taught me to take pride in everything I did and how my actions were not only a reflection of me, but also of my entire family.”

He and her uncles were the reasons Rhodes joined the Air Force. The uncles served as Soldiers in the Vietnam War.

“My step dad and uncles instilled in me the fact that others might not always agree with your actions, but if you make decisions from the heart and can look at yourself in the mirror, then you know you have made the right choice,” said Rhodes, who spent more than seven years in the Air Force and three years in the Texas National Guard.

As a young recruit, Rhodes said that stepping into an Exchange brought a welcoming feeling and a sense of familiarity. Buying her favorites—Snickers bars, butter cookies and Twix—reminded her of being home and removed her, even if only for a few minutes, from the rough life of basic training.

Before coming to the Exchange, Rhodes served as an Airman.

“The Exchange associates were pleasant and helpful, as if they sensed the trials and tribulations I felt and wanted to ease that nervousness somehow, if only with a warm smile and ‘Hello,’” Rhodes said.

“The notion of working for an organization whose mission is to give back to the men and women of today’s armed forces reminds me of being in the military where friendship, dedication and loyalty meant putting on that uniform, serving your country and joining a group of extraordinary men and women in serving a cause that supported not only Americans but humanity globally,” Rhodes said. “The associates at the Exchange believe in the organization’s mission and that’s why they stay. It’s truly a family environment—Family Serving Family.”

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