The Post Exchange and Commissary have a new addition outside. Expectant Mother parking spaces have been designated in each parking lot.

"They're my baby," Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Cooper quipped.

The spaces are marked by signs bearing the picture of a stork. Both the Commissary and Post Exchange have been designated two spaces each. The idea is to allow easier shopping for moms-to-be. They are a new part of the existing preferred parking slots in front of the main entrances. Designating spaces exclusively for expectant mother use is similar to what others have done in the outside community.

"I think these spaces are a great idea," PX general manager Carl Carpenter said. "It follows the industry standard for retailers downtown."

The idea for the spaces came from a suggestion raised at the Feb.10 FMWR, Post Exchange and Commissary Advisory Council meeting.

"A council member asked about having expectant mother parking," Cooper said. "I thought it was a great idea."

The signs were ordered and installed quickly. They were placed in the parking areas two weeks ago by the Directorate of Public Works. While word is just starting to get out about them, Cooper has already gotten some feedback.

"At another meeting, a lady came and thanked me for them," he said.

The spaces serve as both a courtesy for expectant mothers and help to combat some of the physical limitations that having a baby on board can bring. The idea and the meetings behind it are part of the ongoing Garrison effort to provide the best possible service to its customers. In order to do that, Advisory Council meetings are held quarterly to discuss the needs and wants of those customers. Organizational representatives are present at each meeting to discuss suggestions and offer recommendations. They are always happy to hear from customers what is or isn't working for them.

"We can't make things better if we don't know about them," Cooper said.

The next Advisory Council meeting is May 12 at 10 a.m. in the Redstone Room of Challenger building 1500 on Weeden Mountain Road. The Redstone community is invited.

"The spaces are just one of the good ideas that come out of those meetings," Cooper said.