‘Good Morning America’ Helps Fort Campbell Exchange with a Very Merry Surprise—Layaways Paid in Full

Rob Marciano, meteorologist for “Good Morning America,” poses with families at Fort Campbell for a Pay Away the Layaway event. The Exchange teamed with Pay Away the Layaway to take care of more than 40 layaways totaling more than $7,000.


Exchange Store Communication and Support Manager Jennifer Jordan has spent the last two holiday seasons forging a relationship with Pay Away the Layaway, a nonprofit that pays off holiday layaways at major retailers. Jordan has supported events at Exchange stores around the world, and on Dec. 21, that work paid off in a big way.

Thanks to Jordan, the Fort Campbell Pay Away the Layaway event was covered live by “Good Morning America” as part of their ongoing segment, Giving My All. Meteorologist Rob Marciano shared the news with the families at a surprise event on Friday morning.

“Every family here today that has something on layaway has had their layaway paid off!” Marciano said in announcing the surprise.

‘I feel so fortunate’

Jennifer Jordan, the Exchange’s store communication and support manager, speaks with military families invited to the Pay Away the Layaway event at the Fort Campbell Exchange on Dec. 21. The families did not know that they were about to be surprised with paid in full layaway balances.

Families were in attendance to receive their layaway items, with their reactions captured on national TV. In total, more than $7,000 was paid to make spirits bright for Fort Campbell families.

 “All our layaway gifts are for our grandchildren,” said Ellen Wooster, whose husband retired from the Army at Fort Campbell. “Christmas is really about the kids, so this means a lot to us.”

Jordan said working to share this holiday joy with Exchange shoppers makes all the hard work worth it.

“When you see their faces, especially the kids, you get the sense that what you are doing is significant to these military families’ lives,” Jordan said. “I feel so fortunate to be part of bringing this experience to our shoppers.”

From wrapping gifts to decorating shopping carts

Members of Exchange leadership were on hand all week to assist with every aspect of the event, from wrapping gifts to decorating shopping carts to look like sleighs.

Tina Massey, visual merchandiser for the Fort Campbell Exchange, put Air Force CMSgt Luis Reyes, Exchange senior enlisted advisor, and East Central Region Vice President Ronny Rexrode to work cutting out cart decorations.

“It’s so great to see something like this for our shoppers,” Massey said. “Anytime they win or receive a gift like this, it reminds us why we are here—to provide for Warfighters, retirees and their families.”

Lifting the financial burden

Reyes also participated in the procession of gifts once the surprise was announced.

Fort Campbell Exchange Visual Merchandiser Tina Massey; Ronny Rexrode, vice president of the east Central Region; and CMSgt Luis Reyes, Exchange senior enlisted advisor, work on decorations for the Pay Away the Layaway event.

“I am so excited to be able to bring this opportunity to our shoppers at Fort Campbell,” Reyes said. “Collaborating with Pay Away the Layaway allows us to lift the financial burden for the best customers in the world.”

“Collaborating with Pay Away the Layaway allows us to lift the financial burden for the best customers in the world.”

-CMSgt Luis Reyes, Exchange senior enlisted advisor

Before the event, producers from “Good Morning America” interviewed some of the lucky families—without letting them know about the layaway surprise. Sgt. 1st Class Damion Mays told the crew he appreciates the time he gets to spend with his family this holiday season.

“I have six kids, and it’s difficult to get them everything they want,” Mays said. “But we try to find out what they want the most, and at least get them that.”

Layaway events at other Exchanges

Besides Fort Campbell, the Exchange hosted surprise events at Forts Bliss, Polk, Carson and Bragg; Joint Base Langley-Eustis; Andersen AFB; and Ramstein AB, paying off dozens of families’ layaway balances, totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

Pay Away the Layaway is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises money online to pay off layaway balances. The mission of the organization is to inspire hope and spread kindness.


See coverage of the events:


See videos of three other Pay Away the Layaway events:

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  1. Fortier on December 22, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Thanks to the Exchange and Ms. Jordan. Bringing this event to the Soldiers and Airmen!! Truly family serving family

    • Steve Smith on December 27, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post! Glad you liked the article.

      Is there anybody else out there who would like to comment on this article? We want to read them! Type your comments in the box.

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

  2. Eugene O. Youngblood on January 2, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I’m a former service member now working at an AAFES Exchange in Colorado. When I first read this article and how this organization is helping current service members, it made me truly proud to now be a part of AAFES. Please continue to keep this extraordinary mission going. Being prior service myself, I can’t underscore enough just how deeply appreciated your efforts truly are by those who deserve them the most.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Eugene Youngblood

    • Steve Smith on January 3, 2019 at 6:30 pm

      Mr. Youngblood:

      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post and for your service to the country.

      Does anybody else out there want to comment on the Exchange being on Good Morning America and paying the layaways? We want to hear! Type your comments in the box.

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

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