Beginning Jan. 1, in-store, tax-free shopping Exchange privileges will expand to all Veterans with service-connected disabilities, Veterans who are Purple Heart recipients, Veterans who are former prisoners of war and primary family caregivers for Veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.
The Exchange’s Director/CEO Tom Shull honored five Purple Heart recipients during last weekend’s Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia. Jeff Tonkin, Neil Van Ess, David Pereira, Walter Kaczmarek and Clark Foreid received Vet for Life blankets created specifically for 120th game between the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen. During the on field presentation, some 70,000 fans in attendance gave the Purple Heart recipients a rousing standing ovation.
“These former service members are true heroes,” Shull said. “It was truly an honor to recognize their distinguished service and selfless sacrifice.”
Pereira, a Petty Officer 1st Class serving in the Navy, was moved by the day’s events.
“The on-field ceremony was an experience I’ll never forget,” Pereira said. “It was such an honor to be standing next to those who are etched into history and to be honored in the presence of so many brave men and women. To hear the cheers after they announced my name let me know that the sacrifices haven’t gone unnoticed.”
During the game, an Exchange-produced commercial, highlighting the Veterans online shopping benefit, aired on CBS. Within an hour of the thirty-second commercial’s airing, more than 3,700 Veteran, active-duty and retired shoppers created profiles on ShopMyExchange.com. By the end of the day, approximately 6,500+ new customers had signed up at ShopMyExchange.com.
Before the game, the Corporate Communication team shared the Exchange relevancy story with thousands of Cadets, Midshipmen and fans.
At the Fan Fest, fans lined up to score Exchange swag and hear about the Veterans online shopping benefit and expanded patronage for service-connected disabled Veterans. In the Cadets and Midshipmen muster area, a mobile field Exchange highlighted the support the Exchange provides communities affected by natural disasters as well as downrange and in Eastern Europe. Fans also got the opportunity to see the Exchange’s rolling billboard – the Army-Navy tractor-trailer.
In the stadium, the Exchange message was broadcast on end zone digital boards, LED ribbon displays and the famed Eagles Nest tower. Prior to the on-field ceremony honoring the Purple Heart recipients, a video from actor Mark Wahlberg highlighted the new benefit for Veterans with service-connected disabilities.
“The Army-Navy Game is an incredible opportunity for us to share our mission and to connect with those that we serve,” Shull said. “It was a total team effort as our logistics, merchandising, communication and eastern region teams worked together to connect with the heroes we are privileged to serve.”