Hangar lends a helping hand to Soldiers, Families
Maria Aponte, Army Community Service volunteer helps Mexican Capt. Marco Floures, Federal Police of Mexico, select items for temporary use at the Fort Rucker Lending Hangar June 20th.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 27, 2013) -- When a Soldier around Fort Rucker hears the word 'hangar' most usually ask "Which airfield?" But the hangar in Bldg. 5700 houses something a little different than helicopters, and possibly something just as important in a time of need.

The Fort Rucker Lending Hangar in Rm. 177 has houseware goods for check out to Families whose belongings are being shipped or to Families who are expecting guests for free, said Ruth Gonzalez, relocation readiness program manager.

"Any Soldier or Family member that is arriving or leaving Fort Rucker and wishes to use our services may do so before their home goods arrive," she said. "They only need to bring us a copy of orders."

Orders assigning a Soldier to Fort Rucker for permanent or temporary duty and an identification card are required in order to borrow items from the lending hangar. Anyone with a Department of Defense military identification card may use the lending hangar.

Because of the furlough, Gonzalez asks that people intending to come to the hangar call beforehand to ensure that Army Community Service officials can guarantee someone will be available to assist them.

"We do a lot of briefings and trainings, so we have to close the office and we would hate for someone to waste a trip," she said.

The purpose of the hangar is to make the transitions between duty stations smoother.

"Hopefully we lessen the financial burden on the Soldiers," she said. "If they have shipped their household goods but the items have not arrived yet, they don't have to go buy or rent anything and have double of the item when their things arrive."

Gonzalez warns that the hangar only has the basics and has no furniture, such as dining room sets or mattresses.

"We have things such as folding tables and chairs, sleeping mats, pots and pans, dishes, coffee pots, microwaves, rice cookers, play yards, high chairs, car seats, strollers, blenders, silverware, cooking utensils, toasters and televisions for Families," she said, naming a few items that Soldiers can borrow.

Soldiers going through in or out processing may borrow items for 30 days, but she said ACS takes each situation on a case-by-case basis.

"If something is damaged in transition, or is taking longer than expected, then they can borrow things until it is fixed or that issue is resolved," she said. "During high PCS season when delivery times are longer it makes it even worse, so our services are a blessing to most."

For Soldiers going overseas, Gonzalez said they can be proactive and send their things 60 days before they leave Fort Rucker, and that they are more than welcome to borrow from the hangar during that time.

"It is much better to send your things early and be inconvenienced here where you have friends and connections where if you need a little extra help they are here for you, whereas to go someplace new where you do not know anyone and not have your belongings," she said.

Officials at ACS request people to return borrowed items the way they received them -- clean and in good working condition.

Besides helping take some stress out of moving, Gonzalez said the hangar saves Soldiers money.

"Eating out can get expensive, and it can get old very fast," she said. "We want Soldiers to be ready and able to work or study, and we want our Family members taken care of. It lets the Soldier be ready for their new mission."

The lending hangar does not loan things out for yard sales or parties, but is able to lend a hand when Families are in town.

"If Family members are coming in from out of town then we can help the Soldier with an extra table or an air mattress for example," she said. "There is no reason they should go out and buy things for short term guests unless they just want to."

The Lending Hangar is open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the lending hangar or to check out items, call 255-3161 or 255-2887.

Page last updated Thu June 27th, 2013 at 00:00