Fort Bragg equipment center rents summer fun
Sgt. Wesley Hatfield, left, and Pfc. Anthony Daniell, load a fan for a bounce house onto the back of a pickup truck March 18, at the Recreation Equipment Checkout Center on Knox Street. The fan is to inflate a bounce house the center rents. The center also rents sports, lawn, picnic and other equipment to Soldiers, their Families, retirees and Department of Defense civilians.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - When Sgt. Wesley Hatfield and Pfc. Anthony Daniell needed a bounce house for their 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment Family readiness group meeting Friday, they knew just where to go to get one.

The two Soldiers stopped by the Recreation Equipment Checkout Center at the corner of Knox and Gruber streets, put down a $50 deposit and watched as a mechanic loaded the bounce house onto a pickup using a forklift.

The center offers rental prices for different types of equipment such as camping, sports and games, picnic and party, lawn and garden, fishing and boating and other miscellaneous items such as floor buffers, roll-a-way beds, Santa costumes and lawn trailers.

A person could rent a rock climbing wall or train for $150 for the first hour, with additional hours costing $100.

The facility is open to all ID cardholders, including active-duty, dependents, retirees, Reservists and Department of Defense civilians, said Rebecca Hunter, the center's business manager.

"We can make reservations up to six months in advance," she said. "The sooner they (customers) come in and reserve it, the better chance they'll have of getting what they want," Hunter said.
The facility gets very busy during summer months when customers often rent equipment for organization days, change-of-command ceremonies, birthdays and weddings, Hunter said.

One of the busiest times of the year is the annual Fourth of July celebration on the Main Parade Field. If customers do not check on rentals well in advance of the Fourth, they risk low availability or sometimes no availability of equipment, Hunter explained. Other busy times of year are Octoberfest and the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December.

Rentals may be obtained for any length of time, Hunter said. Customers usually check out equipment for daily, holiday, weekends and weekly durations, but penalties are accrued if equipment is not returned on or before the indicated time on the rental contract.

Items returned late are assessed an additional daily rental fee per item and those reserved by another customer are assessed a double daily rental fee. Outstanding fees will be reported to the One-Stop-Shop and may prevent a servicemember from clearing Fort Bragg.

The center accepts down payments of a one-day rental fee for each item and checks and credit cards must be in the name of the account holder, no third-party checks.
The refund policy varies depending on whether the deposit is made with a debit or credit card or with a cash or check.

Yet, renting from the center has its advantages.

"It's just a better rate for the Soldier; that's what we're here for is to provide equipment for their rental needs at a cheaper rate than they can get from an outside source," Hunter said.

Monthly specials are offered routinely. This month's special is 10 percent off canoe and kayak rentals. In honor of the Month of the Military Child, April's special will be 10 percent off bouncer rentals, said Hunter.

The center offers safety and instruction classes for items such as travel trailers, pop-up campers, 18-foot pontoons, canoes, kayaks, propane, pig cookers and log splitters.
Daniell added yet another advantage of renting from the center.

"I like the fact that I don't have to store equipment," said Daniell, who has rented a jon boat on past occasions to fish on Smith Lake. "They're pretty fair on the price for rentals," he said.

"It's good for a single guy living in the barracks who doesn't have a place to put a boat," Hatfield said. A married Soldier who lives off post, Hatfield said he has never rented a jon boat, but would consider an upcoming bounce house rental for his children.

Hatfield's mission Friday was to get the bounce house to his unit's FRG meeting.

"Let's go make some child happy." said Hatfield, just as he prepared to leave the Recreation Equipment Checkout Center. The Recreation Checkout Center is located in Building 5-1401, Knox Street.
For more information, call 396-7060/7531 or visit its website at www.fortbraggmwr.com.

Page last updated Fri March 25th, 2011 at 13:47