AAFES takes Army Family Covenant message 'to the streets'
September 11, 2009
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Sept. 10, 2009) -- The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is hitting the road with a message that says the Army cares.
One hundred 18-wheelers will become rolling billboards with the message "Army Family Covenant: Keeping the Promise - Honoring our Commitment to Soldiers and Families" in 4-foot-tall lettering. The graphics will include a photograph of a real Army family featured in a variety of covenant-related advertisements.
"We wanted some way to reach out to the geographically dispersed," said Robin Hovey-Stapp, the FMWRC marketing representative who spearheaded the project. "We wanted to get our message in front of the parents, grandparents, friends and employees - anyone connected to the Army.
"Our partnership with AAFES presented the perfect opportunity."
The trucks will spend an estimated 115,000 hours crisscrossing America's highways between AAFES distribution sites and Army garrisons. Industry averages indicate an estimated 69 million people will see the trucks during the next two years and be reminded of the Army's commitment to taking care of Soldiers and families.
They'll also see the Web resource, ArmyOneSource.com, which is prominently displayed on the rear panel of the trucks.
"ArmyOneSource is the single portal for information for anyone connected to the Army - Soldiers, family members, extended family, even friends and employers," Hovey-Stapp said. "Getting the word out - that we care, and that there are resources available to everyone - had to extend beyond the fence lines of our installations."
"The grandmother caring for the child of a deployed Soldier or the spouse of a deployed Guard or Reserve Soldier may not live on post. We had to seek ways to ensure they knew ArmyOneSource and the Army family are there for them if they need assistance."
The Army Family Covenant is the promise by the secretary of the Army and chief of staff of the Army to Soldiers and families to provide a quality of life commensurate to their service and sacrifice.
ArmyOneSource.com is an example of the covenant's purpose. The single Web portal combines active Army, Guard, and Reserve resources and information in one location. It also includes information on community, state and federal resources available to Soldiers and families, and is available on a dot-com site so there's no need for logons or passwords to access official Army networks.
"It's a great resource for anyone connected to the Army," Hovey-Stapp said. "If they have a question about support, services, or even recreational activities available to them, ArmyOneSource will lead them to the answer."
The goal is to provide uniform services, regardless of whether or not the Soldier or family lives on an Army installation.
The first completed truck will be displayed Oct. 2-3 at the Army Ten-Miler Expo site in the D.C. National Guard Armory parking lot. The rest of the truck fleet will be on the road by the end of November, officials said, adding that the wraps are expected to be visible for two years.
"AAFES has always been a strong supporter and partner for MWR," Hovey said. "This time, they've truly gone the extra mile to reach out with the message 'the Army cares.'"
(William Bradner writes for FMWRC Public Affairs)