Hearts grew three sizes last week as the Exchange made spirits bright for military families at Forts Bliss, Carson and Polk as well as Joint Base Langley-Eustis by teaming up with a nonprofit to pay holiday layaways in full.
In cooperation with Pay Away the Layaway, Exchange General Managers Lawrence Simmons, Michael Brennan, Beth Pritchard and Amanda Hartfield surprised families at special events last week, letting them know their layaway balances were taken care of.
“It’s just a joy to be part of the Quality-of-Life programs here at Fort Polk and serve our service members and their families,” Pritchard said. “To add this special joy for them and support for them during the holiday season just means everything to us.”
In all, 44 Exchange shoppers were chosen to have their layaway balance taken care of by Pay Away the Layaway last week. Nearly $4,700 was provided by the charity to pay off the Exchange shoppers’ layaway balances at four locations.
“We work with this charitable organization to pay off layaways that contain items for kids,” Exchange Store Communication and Support Manager Jennifer Jordan said. “It is fun for the associates in the field and allows us to show Exchange shoppers how much we appreciate their service.”
Setting these events in motion required strategy and cooperation, especially between the Store Operations team and the Logistics team, Jordan said.
“I submitted an order for the gift cards to be sent to the stores to close out the layaways, and most were received the next day,” Jordan said. “We are truly grateful for the LG team’s effort and contribution to making this event so successful for our military kids.”
A ‘nice welcome home’
This was the second year the Exchange has partnered with Pay Away the Layaway to spread holiday cheer to military families.
Saundra Diggs, a recent retiree of the Washington Navy Yard, and her husband, Ivan, have eight grandchildren on their holiday list this year. They were among the 10 families who benefited at the Langley Exchange.
“This is a nice welcome home,” Diggs said, speaking with reporters after the event. “We don’t even have a tree yet.”
The Exchange teams captured the events on Facebook Live, and the surprise garnered significant media attention.
View these photos, videos and news reports:
- Fort Bliss: Facebook Live
- Fort Carson: Photo Album
- Fort Polk: Photo Album / Facebook Live (JRTC & Fort Polk Public Affairs Office) / Facebook Live (Leesville Daily Leader)
- Joint-Base Langley-Eustis: Story (Daily Press) / Facebook Live