Luis Rivera, store manager at the Honduras Exchange, didn’t know what to expect when he was invited to a command town hall. He was surprised to learn he had been chosen for the prestigious Commander’s Award for Civilian Service by Col. Michael Coleman, garrison commander of Army Support Activity at Soto Cano Air Base.
The award is presented annually to a civilian who embodies the spirit of federal service and positively contributes to the morale and welfare of the deployed service members who call Soto Cano home.
Rivera was honored for the outstanding support the Exchange provided.
“Luis is an asset to the Exchange,” said Stephanie Wilson, Honduras Exchange general manager. “He leads his team with resilience and a smile, ensuring our troops complete their mission with some of the comforts of home.”
The Honduras Exchange has faced challenges in the last year: a major renovation meant closing half the store, all concessions and the Subway restaurant for several weeks. Luis and his team also endured stock shortages. Despite this, the Honduras team remained all in for taking care of service members.
“My associates are on the front line, fighting for the organization every day—everything I’ve received is because of them.”
Coleman indicated that Luis handled these challenges with leadership and professionalism, showing exceptional customer service and dedication.
“We try to provide the best we can with what we have,” Rivera said. “My team has been excellent taking care of the customers despite difficulties.”
A ‘different’ award
Rivera was presented with a certificate featuring a personal acknowledgment of his achievement and signed by Coleman, plus a set of medals featuring the commander’s seal.
Rivera has received multiple service awards and coins during his career. He says this one is different.
“I feel fulfilled now,” Rivera said. “When you receive an award from ‘outside the house’ of the Exchange, it means there is someone thinking about you and recognizing what you have done for the troops. It’s a great honor.”
He isn’t one to take all the credit, though.
“Even though it has my name on it, this award reflects a team effort,” Rivera said. “My associates are on the front line, fighting for the organization every day—everything I’ve received is because of them.”