Associates celebrate the reopening of their South Post main store at Fort Bragg.

From Batteries to Paper: Exchange Delivers 280,000 Emergency Supplies to Storm-Ravaged East Coast

Associates celebrate the reopening of their South Post main store at Fort Bragg.


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.)

Qdoba’s Yashira Rivera

“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.

The staff of the Exchange’s Old Glory Express.

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.

Pizza Hut concessionaires at Fort Lee, Va., donate 100 free pizzas to 280 paramedics during Florence’s relief efforts.

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.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Andy Fisher on September 24, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    As a retiree, I would not have expected anything less. I remember that we had services up and running in Florida after Hurricane Andrew, before FEMA went active. Kudos to everyone.

    • Steve Smith on September 25, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Mr. Fisher:

      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post. That’s one thing about AAFES: we’re always there when needed.

      Does anybody else out there have comments about our responses to Hurricane Florence? We want to read them! Post them in the comment box!

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

  2. Alexandra Gukeisen on September 25, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Awesome to see how the Exchange keeps things going even in events like this. I’m so proud to be part of the Exchange Family! 🙂

    • Steve Smith on September 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm


      Thank you for writing to your Exchange Post! I will pass your comments along to the proper folks.

      Anybody else out there have anything to say about how the Exchange served the best customers in the world during Hurricane Florence? We want to hear them! Type your comments in the box.

      Steve Smith
      Editor, The Exchange Post

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.