From Batteries to Paper: Exchange Delivers 280,000 Emergency Supplies to Storm-Ravaged East Coast
Exchange drivers trucked everything from propane to paper products to Eastern Region Exchanges and other facilities in the days before Hurricane Florence slashed through the Carolinas.
Exchange stores at Fort Bragg, N.C., where 54,000 service members are assigned, were the hardest hit, suffering mostly water damage from the hurricane’s deluge of rain. The devastating storm dumped 10 trillion gallons of rain on the Carolinas in at least five days.
By Thursday, Sept. 20, associates and customers were overjoyed that the Bragg’s South Post main store had reopened. (See the Facebook live opening here.)
“A large majority of our workers here are military spouses, family members or retired military, and they understand what the Exchange means to the military community,” said Main Store Manager Dale Killip.
Throughout the week, he added, 50 managers and associates were tearing apart damaged fixtures, replacing warped boards, drying and cleaning floors, and cleaning and stocking shelves so they could reopen the main store.
North Post Exchange Main Store Manager Patricia Jones stayed in her office for three days after being evacuated from her own home.
“When you see the garrison commander and the deputy director of the Department of Public Works walking in and seeing all the damage in the food court—in this case, it was Qdoba—and start moving things around and getting soaking wet, you knew that you were working for the right people,” she said.
Qdoba Manager Yashira Rivera said that seeing the “immense damage” at her restaurant was “absolutely heartbreaking.” The restaurant had opened just two days before the hurricane.
“This is the worst day of my life, to see my store like this,” she said.
Hurricane Florence by the numbers:
14,000 – service members, including National Guard from 13 states, deployed to the disaster area.
$17 billion – estimated damage caused by Florence.
1 million – people evacuated from their homes in North Carolina.
1.1 million – people in both Carolinas who lost power during the height of the storm.
42 – death toll as of Sept. 21 due to Florence.
15,000 – North Carolina residents staying in emergency shelters.
Exchange support by the numbers:
280,000 – total emergency supplies, from batteries to ice chests, delivered to Exchanges in affected areas.
5 – days Fort Bragg’s South Post Exchange Mall was closed. The main store reopened Sept. 20, but the mall and food court were still closed.
3 – days the North Post Exchange Mall, about three miles away, from the South Post was closed.
16,153 – total paper products, laundry and other cleaning supplies
215,000 – gallons of water shipped to store, about 94,000 bottles in total
15,774 – batteries
3,252 – gas cans
1,130 – flashlights
454 – electrical generators
27,000 – miles driven by Dan Daniel DC truckers delivering merchandise and emergency supplies to the affected areas.
28 – Dan Daniel drivers devoted to Hurricane Florence relief. The distribution center has 56 drivers.
30 – tractor-trailers involved in driving merchandise and emergency supplies to affected areas.
3.2 million – gallons of gas shipped to Express stores throughout the affected region.
900,000 – additional gallons of gas shipped to the East Coast to meet demand because of Hurricane Florence.
35,000 – gallons of gas sold from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the mission-essential Old Glory Express at Fort Bragg on Sept. 16, three days after Florence hit the Carolinas.
41,521 – number of emergency supplies delivered to Fort Bragg, compared to 38,015 to JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
100 – number of free pizzas donated by Exchange Pizza Hut at Fort Lee, Va., to 280 paramedics on the installation to help with relief efforts.