Luis Rivera, Wendy Romero and Bonergi Soto will gladly deploy wherever troops are located. All somebody must do is ask.
The associates received coins from CMSgt Luis Reyes, Exchange senior enlisted advisor, during his recent visit to Soto Cano Air Base. Reyes recognized the trio for their deployments to Belize in 2017 and El Salvador this year, where they staffed mobile field exchanges to serve troops on humanitarian missions.
From Belize to Peru
Rivera, who manages the Honduras Exchange, has deployed many times throughout Central America during his 30-plus years with the Exchange. Many of his deployments have supported the Beyond the Horizon military humanitarian missions.
“I was able to take over coordination of tactical field exchanges in Panama, Guatemala, Belize, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru, Guyana and the Dominican Republic,” he said. “For me, supporting the troops during my career has been a very rewarding experience.”
‘Gain valuable experience’
Soto and Romero have deployed for three months each to Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize, while Soto also has deployed to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
“The reason I deploy is to support the Exchange’s mission and gain valuable experience to achieve my professional and personal goals,” said Romero, a sales associate in the Honduras Exchange. “Our jobs are to offload containers, set up the store, coordinate supplies, work with commanders for logistics support, maintain the store in well-stocked conditions and last—and the most important—is take care of the troops by providing great customer service.”
Romero says she works hard to be a role model for women who are considering deploying with the Exchange.
“I’m proud to serve the U.S. armed forces, and the base commanders are very pleased with the support we provide,” Romero said.
‘More than a motto’
In the late 1990s, Soto, during his first job with the Exchange in Honduras, deployed several times to Central American countries.
“It’s hard to leave home knowing you will be away from your family for so long,” Soto said. “However, when you arrive at a site, we adopt a new family—our military family. When customers enter the store, they feel like we bring a touch of home on every item they purchase. When the troops return to their home stations, they remember the Exchange as a great organization.
“We go where you go is more than a motto. It is family serving family.”
Rivera, Romero and Soto praised Kent Forsch, the Exchange’s contingency program manager, for always helping them carry out deployments and serve the troops.
“Their dependability is phenomenal and, combined with a can-do attitude to serve Soldiers and Airmen, make these three associates the ultimate team players,” Forsch said. “I am honored to work with them.”