FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 26, 2013) -- Shopping on Fort Rucker can offer a lot of savings for military Families, but something many people might not know is that the dollars people spend at the post exchange go right back into improving the quality of life on the installation.

The Fort Rucker Army and Air Force Exchange Service has a program in place that gives back to the community by paying two-thirds of Exchange earnings to Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, according to Susie Antonello, visual merchandiser manager for AAFES.

"On Fort Rucker, the dividends paid back actually help make the military community a better place to work and live," said Antonello. "Purchases made at AAFES operations in the past 10 years have contributed to more than $2.4 billion to military programs like youth services, gyms and aquatic centers," adding that on Fort Rucker, the dividends paid out by the PX provide more than $1.3 million a year to DFMWR programs.

In 2009, the PX underwent a facelift as well as expanded its selection of electronics and added the firearms and ammo department, and in 2011 the Burger King was remodeled from the ground up.

Because of the AAFES program, DFMWR has been able to make improvements that benefit Fort Rucker's Army community, such as: furnishings and equipment for cabins at Lake Tholocco, park grills, a finger pier, floating dock and new timing system for runs, according to Evy Bludsworth, DFMWR deputy director.

"Each of these would not have been possible without this program," she said. "Our Soldiers and their Families are able to enjoy these items and much more.

"DFMWR works hard to continuously improve our services to the community," she continued. "The support of our AAFES partner helps us to provide the quality programs and facilities our Soldiers and their Families deserve."

Providing support for the community and DFMWR programs isn't the only thing the PX is good for, however. It's also good for saving people money, said Antonello.

"One of the added benefits that people have by shopping at the PX is not having to pay sales tax," she said. "This can add up to significant savings, especially (now that the sales tax) is up to 9 percent."

Another beneficial program offered by the PX is their "We'll Match It" program, which, depending on the item, can match the price of competitors, said Antonello. If an item has a price difference of less than $10, then the price will be matched on the spot, but for price differences greater than $10, a local competitor's ad is required.

"The Exchange even offers a 14-day price guarantee on any item originally purchased from the (PX)," she added. "If an item is sold at a lower price by the Exchange, or any local competitor, the price can be matched up to two weeks after the purchase."

Antonello said that although the savings are nice, it's more than just about saving money, it's about improving the community.

"At Fort Rucker, we promise to always support our military community to the best of our ability, and continuously strive to improve our goods and services to satisfy all of their shopping requirements," said Antonello. "Our mission is to provide quality goods and services at competitively low prices, and that allows us to generate the earnings to support quality of life efforts. This dual benefit goes far beyond the clothes, electronics and snacks on the shelves."