Three Europe Associates Receive Recognition from 21st Theater Sustainment Command
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany— Three Exchange Service associates were recognized during 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Quality of Life and Civilian of the Quarter Recognition ceremony held Oct. 17 on Panzer Field.
Quality of life members from the Exchange, American Red Cross, USO, Stars and Stripes and Morale, Welfare and Recreation were among the organizations who received certificates of appreciation from Maj. Gen. James M. Smith, commanding general, 21st TSC, for their unwavering support to aid individuals during Operation Allies Refuge, Operation Allies Welcome and Operation European Assure, Deter and Reinforce.
Exchange Europe/Southwest Asia/Africa Contingency Operations Liaison Rick Finley; Shift Supervisor Keith Biggins, Kleber Troop Store; and Senior End User Computer Technician Bill Le Duc each received certificates during the ceremony.
“I know our Exchange associates work tirelessly to provide the best services and products to our Warfighters,” said Col. Don Nowlin, Exchange Europe/Southwest Asia/Africa region commander. “I’m sure being recognized for their outstanding and selfless service is just the icing on the cake for them and we are all thrilled to be a part of such a great organization that does so much for our troops.”
Biggins, after only months with the Exchange, volunteered to deploy and operated more than 55 rodeos for deployed Soldiers who would not normally have access to the Exchange or personal supplies. A rodeo, which sells a small selection of items such as personal hygiene products, snacks and drinks from a temporary location, helps to bring a small taste of home to troops deployed in austere locations.
“As a former Soldier, I remember living through conditions where even the smallest comfort items meant a lot,” Biggins said. “It was incredible to be able to provide basic items and essentials to Soldiers and see the huge smiles on their faces and the warm welcomes.”
Finley has been with the Exchange for 19 years and said he was honored to be recognized. As a contingency operations liaison, part of his job is coordinating the deployment of mobile field Exchanges and rodeos.
“This is a team effort—both from the Exchange side and the commands we work with,” Finley said. “I know how much it means to see the Exchange show up at a location, be it in a built-up forward operation base or on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. The best is to see all the smiling faces as they pick their items or that little taste of home with a smile as they exit the MFE or rodeo.”
For more than three decades, Le Duc has been bringing a taste of home to Warfighters across Europe. Le Duc said nothing else compares to seeing a troop’s face light up when the Exchange shows up during a deployment.
“The longs hours of prepping the facility is all forgotten when you see the excitement and smiles,” Le Duc said. “I always say, if you really want the true Exchange experience—deploy, as that’s what built the Exchange—bringing the taste of home to those at the tip of the spear.”