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NEWS | Dec. 12, 2008

Annual Shop-A-Trainee program draws more than 4,000 to exchange

By Patrick Desmond 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

In keeping with the spirit of the season, Air Force basic trainees received a break from their military training and the chance to do a little holiday shopping at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Base Exchange Saturday.

The base exchange opened its doors an hour early for the Shop-A-Trainee program to accommodate more than 4,000 trainees searching for presents.

The event was a joint effort by AAFES, UPS, and the base post office. Basic trainees were provided with free wrapping paper, scissors, and tape, while volunteers helped wrap gifts and box them for shipping.

Jim Steele, chief of the basic military training scheduling office, said the chance to get away from training to purchase gifts at the BX is a privilege most basic military trainees do not receive.
"It gives all the trainees in basic training the opportunity to go over to the BX and shop for loved ones back home," he said.

Lackland AAFES store manager Cheryl DeRosier did not experience any problems hosting the trainees.

 "(They) loved it. They were very grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to send their gifts to family members back home," Ms. DeRosier said.

AAFES volunteers from both the Randolph and Lackland locations facilitated the Shop-A-Trainee program, while UPS and the U.S. Postal Service provided free shipping. The funds generated by AAFES are returned to the military through morale, welfare and recreation activities.