DOD expands access to commissaries, exchanges and recreation facilities

DOD expands access to commissaries, exchanges and recreation facilities-1/22/2020

FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) -Fort Sill, along with military installations world wide, have expanded access to their commissaries, exchanges and recreation facilities.

Before the first of this year, veterans who were less than 100 percent disabled, purple heart recipients, or former prisoners of war did not have access to these services, but now they do.

More than 4.1 million veterans across the country fall into those three categories, and now have access to benefits they didn’t have before.

“I know they’ll be very appreciative of that, because they feel they are the ones left behind,” said Retired Sergeant Major George Noland.

“It’s kind of a way of saying thank you for your service. And welcome back to the family. That once you’ve served, you’ve always served. So we consider you a service member for life,” said Fort Sill Garrison Commander Col. Don King.

The primary caregivers of those eligible veterans will also be granted access to these services. It’s a program that Post Exchange General Manager Don Walter says they are proud to be a part of.

“This is something that both the exchange, the commissary and the installation worldwide and army wide has been looking forward towards, because the fact that they did serve and they do deserve recognition,” said Walter.

The ability to shop at the Exchange, or commissary, and participate in recreational activities through MWR, can save these eligible veterans millions of dollars.

“Through AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service), and through the commissary, there’s savings that they get that they probably wouldn’t get in any other store because we do offer discounted prices,” said Col. King.

“From 2017 to current, 8 million dollars has been saved for those that have been using the services,” said Walter.

Col. King says this is one of the biggest changes they’ve made over the last 65 years... a change he’s happy to make.

“It’s an honor for us to bring them back, because it’s good to see those that have served coming back to where they began their services,” said Col. King.

Col. King encourages anyone interested in the services, to please visit your Veterans Affairs Center to see if you qualify. Anyone who does qualify will need to obtain a Veterans Health Identification Card from the Visitors Center to get on post.

Walters says those discounts for the Exchange are also available online at shopmyexchange.com

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