126 Years of Family Serving Family – Ursula Simpkins, Fort Eustis


One in a series honoring the Exchange’s 126 years of family serving family

For nearly four decades, Ursula Simpkins has lived the “Family Serving Family” motto.

In 1983, Simpkins left her small-town home near Stuttgart, Germany, and started her career with the Exchange as an associate at the Hainerberg PX.

“I worked at a small snack bar off post,” Simpkins said. “It was my first time working with Americans, and I loved it.”

After Simpkins met and married her first husband, an American Soldier, she moved to Fort Sill in 1985—becoming an American citizen.

“I acclimated easily to American culture,” she said. “I already knew English, and I loved the change of scenery. I didn’t feel at home until I moved to Fort Eustis, though.”

Simpkins relocated to Fort Eustis in 1986 and started as a regular part-time cashier at the PX. Over the last 35 years at Fort Eustis, she has progressed to part-time shift leader and full-time supervisor. She now serves Warfighters and their families as a supervisory customer experience associate.

“Being honored at my 35-year anniversary was an unforgettable moment,” Simpkins said. “Bob White, senior vice president of the Eastern Region, and a few other Exchange leaders recognized my service to the Exchange right in the middle of the store. It was a wonderful feeling. Everyone was happy for me. It was very nice to be seen.”

In her current position, Simpkins trains new associates on the sales floor. She cites her relationships with other associates and the Fort Eustis community as her daily motivation.

“I have close friends who work here, and I love the people—my coworkers and the shoppers—especially the Soldiers who are away from home for the first time,” she said.

With three years left until her retirement date, Simpkins can’t begin to imagine what retirement would be like.

“Working is kind of my therapy,” said Simpkins. “The PX and Fort Eustis community are a major part of my life. I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t serving the Soldiers and their families. They’ve become my family, too.”



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1 Comment

  1. Catherine Jones on December 2, 2021 at 6:39 am

    I worked with Ursula for 5 years at the Fort Eustis PX…she is the ideal AAFES associate. Ursula is always professional, friendly and helpful, but most of all she makes certain that the young troops are served. I recall one day a new, young employee, a military wife didn’t show up for her shift and we couldn’t reach her. Ursula was so concerned that the two of us actually drove to the associate’s quarters on Post to check on her! AAFES is better because of people like Ursula Simpkins!!

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