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September 6, 2012

By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff Writer

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 6, 2012) -- Many people on Fort Rucker are familiar with the benefits of shopping at the post exchange, but most may not be aware that what they purchase helps pay for services and facilities on the installation.

"Two-thirds of Exchange earnings are paid to Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, and the other one-third is used to build new stores or renovate existing exchange facilities," said Susie Antonello, visual merchandiser manager for the Fort Rucker Army and Air Force Exchange Service. "At Fort Rucker, the dividends paid back actually help make the military community a better place to live and work."

Antonello said that purchases made at AAFES operations in the past 10 years have contributed to more than $2.4 billion to military programs like youth services, gyms and aquatic centers. On Fort Rucker, the dividends paid out by the PX provide more than $1.3 million a year to MWR programs.

The dividends that are paid out by the earnings have gone to fund things like the remodeling of the PX in 2009, which expanded its selection of electronics and added the firearms and ammo department, to the remodeling of the Burger King last year, said Antonello.

"This year, both of the express stores on post will get mini facelifts," she said, "and the funds generated from our patrons' purchases have allowed us to stay vital and competitive with outside retailers.

"These funds are critical to Army Installation Management Command G-9's ability to enhance local programs and MWR facilities, including the Fort Rucker Bowling Center and youth services, to the Lake Tholocco cabins and lodging and the new outdoor recreation facilities.

Janice Erdlitz, DFMWR marketing manager, said that shopping at the PX is a great way for Soldiers and Families to support local facilities and programs.

"The PX offers patrons convenient shopping and great deals with the added bonus of dividends being used to make Fort Rucker a great place to live, work and play," she said.

As well as providing support for the community and MWR programs, shopping at the PX has another benefit -- saving money.

"[People that shop at the PX] have the added benefit of not having to pay sales tax," said Antonello. "This can add up to significant savings."

The PX also has the "We'll Match It" program, which, depending on the item, price matches can be done with or without a competitors ad. If an item has a price difference of $10, it will be matched on the spot, and if an item has a price difference of more than $10, it will be matched with a local competitors' advertisement, according to Antonello.

"AAFES has a mission to provide quality goods and services at competitively low prices [to people on Fort Rucker], which allows it to generate earnings to support quality of life efforts," she said. "This dual benefit AAFES provides goes far beyond the clothes, electronics and snacks on the shelves."