The Army & Air Force Exchange Service brings some of the comforts of home to U.S. troops deployed in more than 150 countries. Beginning Veterans Day 2017, the service will expand to offer tax-free shopping for life for all veterans who have served honorably. Tom Shull, CEO of the Exchange discusses efforts to ensure U.S. troops and their families are provided with essential services, improving their quality of life experience, as well as the expansion of the service to include veterans. Click here for part 1 of the Army and Air Force Exchange.
Interview recorded Oct 11, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Robert T: We spoke, obviously, about what you’re currently doing for soldiers. Any specific programs that you’re working on, or that you have in place, with respect to veterans?
Tom Shull: Well we just launched a big program that we will actually … It will take effect on Veterans Day of this year, November 11th. It’s offering tax-free shopping for the rest of their lives for all veterans who have served honorably. We will welcome home 21 million veterans to the military family with this [00:04:30] great benefit, so they will literally be able to shop tax-free. These are not tax dollars that we’ll be generating. It’ll be non-appropriated funds, which means all that money can then be plowed back into pay forward for active duty members and their families, as I mentioned before.
Robert T: Would this be food, would this be clothing, what type of services do you think the website will provide?
Tom Shull: Well general merchandise, primarily, but it’ll be food as well, and certainly services as we expand the [00:05:00] operation we’re going to be providing services online. It’ll be, basically, a full line retailer, online. We actually have ShopMyExchange up and running now, but that’s only for active duty members, their families, and retirees. This will extend the benefit to all who have served honorably, and to welcome them home.
Robert T: And Tom, when that website is launched, what will be the URL address for it?
Tom Shull: It’s ShopMyExchange.com. It exists today, but if you’re new, [00:05:30] you go on to ShopMyExchange.com and you can authenticate because we want to make sure that only those who served honorably have the benefit. You authenticate through a very easy process, and then you’re good to go, and you can shop.
Robert T: That’s good to know. Last question for you. As we enter the holiday season, oftentimes you will see the pictures of the President or the First Lady, no matter who it is, or perhaps a general, or someone serving in uniform serving turkey and other fixings, if [00:06:00] you will, around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Jewish holidays. Do you all do that? Do you all provide the food for that? Is that what that is?
Tom Shull: We do. In fact, in remote areas we bring the turkeys in. We bring in other food products and everything else so that they can truly have in those cases, in particular, a taste of home. We’re about to open Camp Humphreys in Korea, which is a big grand opening. In that case, too, for Thanksgiving, we’re going to be offering turkeys and all kinds of provisions as part of that [00:06:30] wonderful holiday, and then going into the holiday season as well, to honor all of those and all of their faiths.
Robert T: Very nice. Well I think the only critique might be, how sweet is the apple pie, or what macaroni and cheese might be better than mom’s home baked mac and cheese. Right, just a thought. Tom Shull, thank you very much for joining us, really appreciate it.
Tom Shull: Thank you very much.
Robert T: And thank you for joining us as well, and thanks for watching. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit Comcastnewsmakers.com. I’m Robert Traynham.