Army and Air Force Exchange (Part 2) - 3:24
with Tom Shull, CEO of Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Posted Nov 02, 2017
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.
Hosted by: Robert Traynham Produced by: Houston Newsmakers Team
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 It exists today, but if you're new, [00:05:30] you go on to 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 I'm Robert Traynham.

Other videos hosted By Robert Traynham

Overburdened Renters

"Twenty-five million Americans pay more than half of their income to rent. A discussion with Ali Solis of Make Room on efforts to give a voice to America's working poor and work toward a collective solution to help our economy thrive. Interview recorded September 6, 2017.  Hosted by Robert Traynham. Read a partial transcript of this interview below: Traynham:   11.4 million households in America spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities. And as the nation's population continues to grow, so will the number of overburdened renters. Hello, everyone and welcome to ""Comcast Newsmakers."" I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Ali Solis, president and CEO of Make Room. Ali, welcome to the program. It's always good to see you. Let me start off by stating the obvious -- More and more Americans feel squeezed. They're working harder for less, in terms of what they bring home. As I mentioned a few moments ago, a lot of people -- too many people -- are spending half -- half of their income on utilities and rent. How can this be Solis: That's right. This is a growing crisis in America, where we have 25 million Americans, eight million children, two million seniors impacted by this crisis. And they are, you know, paying, as you mentioned, more than half of their income to rent. And this is a problem that's growing. By 2025, we expect that we'll have 15 million households. Traynham: 15 million Solis: 15 million households, and that's assuming that we can keep pace with rising rents and address -- Traynham: Utilities. Solis: Exactly -- rising rents and utilities. Traynham: So, here is the magic question. How can we -- How do we address this So we know what the problem is. And what's interesting about this dilemma, I find, is that it's not that people are not working. They're working. They're contributing to society. But if they can't keep ends -- They can't make ends meet, what's the solution Solis: Yeah. Most of these families are working, often, two and three jobs just to make rent affordable. And the problem is not just one that we're seeing in big urban centers, like San Francisco or New York, but it's affecting small towns, small communities. I was just in Erie, Pennsylvania, a place where people wouldn't think that there was an affordable rental crisis, or Detroit, Michigan. So this is a challenge that's impacting communities big and small. Traynham: You know, Ali, I want to hit pause there for a second, 'cause I think this is really important to stress what you just said. This is not just a New York, San Francisco, Miami, you know, major metropolitan city issue. To your point, Erie, Pennsylvania, some of the rural areas in this country are also being affected by this. Solis: That's correct. Traynham: So let's talk a little bit about Make Room, specifically what do you do, and how can you help address this problem Solis: So, Make Room is a national organization whose purpose is to un-hide this human suffering that's happening behind closed doors for all of these millions of Americans. We're trying to give voice to a population that isn't necessarily well represented. They are the working poor in America. And so we are sharing their stories, and we are asking overburdened renters all across the country to join us through our digital platform to be able to have regular conversations with their policymakers at the local and federal levels. Traynham: So, you mentioned sharing stories, and for the folks that are watching this at home, or, perhaps, maybe, on their smart device, if you have a story that you would like to share, Ali, how can they do that Solis: Well, we'd encourage you to go to and share your story. We provide incentives. We also provide information so that you can meet neighbors in other communities that are struggling with similar stories. And we also have policymakers engaged through the platform, as well, because it's important for them to understand what's happening in these communities.  "
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