Making Spirits Bright: Nearly $109,000 in Exchange Layaways Paid in Full for 374 Military Shoppers

Air Force Master Sgt. Brett Myers, Engineering Craftsman with the 718th Civil Engineer Squadron, and his wife, Misti, pose for a picture with Flor Payton, Kadena Exchange main store manager, after Brett surprised Misti with a MacBook Pro. Brett used the Exchange’s layaway program for the first time to purchase the laptop for Misti, who is pursuing a degree in medical administration. On Dec. 15, Brett was invited to a video call with celebrity and Marine and Navy Veteran, Montel Williams. During the call, Williams announced that all Exchange layaways in the Pacific Region, including Brett’s, were paid in full by nonprofit Pay Away the Layaway. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman)CAMP FOSTER – Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers in the Pacific were treated to an early holiday surprise when they learned their layaways had been paid in full.

Exchange shoppers in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Hawaii and Guam joined a video call Dec. 14 for the big reveal, delivered by celebrity guest and Marine Corps Veteran Montel Williams. The paid-off layaways totaled nearly $109,000, encompassing all 374 active layaways in the Exchange’s Pacific Region.

Master Sgt. Brett Myers was among the shoppers who tuned in for the reveal. Myers, an Engineering Craftsman with the 718th Civil Engineer Squadron, put a laptop on layaway at the Kadena Air Base Exchange as a gift for his wife, Misti, who recently started online college in pursuit of a degree in medical administration.

“I was absolutely shocked,” Myers said of the reveal. “I can’t believe I was selected. I am still overwhelmed.”

The shoppers’ layaway balances were paid off by nonprofit Pay Away the Layaway.

“Warfighters and their families in the Pacific make enormous sacrifices to serve this Nation, and we are very happy to celebrate this unexpected gift with them,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Kovalchek, Exchange Pacific Region commander. “This welcome surprise will make the Christmas and holiday season all the more special this year.”

Staff Sgt. Mark A. Kauffman contributed to this report.

Facebook-friendly version: All 374 active layaways at Army & Air Force Exchange Service stores in the Pacific have been paid in full in a special holiday surprise for Warfighters and families in the region. Read more:

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Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (Exchange) has gone where Soldiers, Airmen, Guardians and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing. The Exchange is the 54th-largest retailer in the United States. 100% of Exchange earnings support military communities. In the last 10 years, your Exchange benefit has provided $3.4 billion in earnings for critical military Quality-of-Life programs. The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a Board of Directors. The Exchange is a 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Partner, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize the service, valor and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans and their families in conjunction with the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. To find out more about the Exchange history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at


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