Week after week, Enrique Resendez and Alex Wilkins leave the Exchange at Eskan Village in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and drive round-trip 600 miles through the desert to the isolated towns of Khurias and Jubail.
They did so again with another “rodeo” this month—and were greeted by Soldiers cheering and yearning for drinks, food and hygiene items that Resendez and Wilkins were providing.
“Despite the distances, we gladly make the trips,” said Resendez, retail business manager for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates Exchanges. “We just start selling until the Soldiers stop coming, usually about 1800 or 1900 hours. The lines are long, but worth the wait.
“We are living with these Soldiers in tents, and they treat us like family.”
During the latest trips, total sales were nearly $13,000.
“'We Go Where You Go’ is not always about high sales and earnings, but more about positively impacting the lives of service members, especially in deployed locations,” said Col. Scott McFarland, Exchange Europe/Southwest Asia Region commander. “The more remote, the more smiles, and the more you’ve cemented the Exchange in their memories. They will forever remember that ‘AAFES was there.’”
While the Exchange operates stores at Prince Sultan AB and Eskan Village, pockets of troops are serving throughout Saudi Arabia where there are no stores, Rosenberg said.
“These rodeos mean the world to them,” he said. “This is truly our mission of ‘We go where you go’ on display.
“I’m so proud to be associated with combat retailers like the Saudi Arabia rodeo team."