What Does ‘Family Serving Family’ Really Mean? This Afghanistan GM Has Perfect Answer
To Afghanistan General Manager Maria Berrios Borges, nothing rings truer than the Exchange core value “family serving family,” especially when a nephew pops up at Bagram Airfield store where she works.
“When does serving the best customers in the world stops being a job and becomes family serving family? When your nephew deploys to your location!” Borges tweeted recently, complete with a beaming Borges posing with nephew Army Staff Sgt. Ramon Nazario Berrios.
“I knew he was coming to Bagram because we talked about it a month before he got here,” Borges said. “He is super excited we are here at the same time.”
Borges hadn’t talked with her nephew—her sister’s son—much since he joined the Army nine years ago. But once his plane landed at Bagram, he made a bee line straight for Aunt Maria’s store.
“I told him that I’m here for him and his team any time for whatever every need,” Borges said. “I’m glad we get to share this deployment experience together, that we have each other to rely on and talk to. I am happy to see him every chance he gets and have dinner or lunch together.
“On the flip side of that is that his job takes him outside of the base and, of course, I worry about his safety. That’s where the emotions get a little mixed.”
This kind of customer-associate bond separates the Exchange from all other retailers, Borges said.
“I started with the Exchange 19 years ago as a military spouse,” she said. “Now, I serve troops like my son (Senior Airman Michael Rivera Berrios), who is deployed to the United Arab Emirates, and my nephew in Afghanistan. To me, that is what ‘family serving family’ is all about. You can’t find those connections anywhere else in the retail world.”