By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 3, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Tight budgets can make duty station transitions stressful, but Army Community Service's Lending Hangar provides relief just in the nick of time for many Soldiers.
The Lending Hangar, located in Rm. 177 of Bldg. 5700 on Novosel Street, offers basic household supplies to Soldiers, Department of the Army civilian employees, retirees and their families during permanent change of station moves or temporary duty assignments to Fort Rucker.
"Soldiers, DA civilians, retirees and their families can borrow items such as pots and pans, cooking utensils, dishware, eating utensils, Tupperware, sleeping mats, roll-a-way beds, folding tables and chairs, small appliances, children's items, such as high chairs, booster seats, travel tenders, umbrella strollers, car seats, microwaves, televisions and more," Ruth Gonzalez, ACS Relocation Readiness Program manager, said.
Authorized personnel need only bring their military identification and a copy of their temporary or permanent orders, as well as a means to transport what they borrow.
Gonzalez said the hangar provides a vital service to transitioning Soldiers by giving them the means to prepare food at home and save money.
"In today's economy and budgets being tight, I believe the Lending Hangar helps ease the financial burdens on the Soldiers and their families when they're moving because they are not obligated to eat out every day until their items arrive," she said. "If they are unable to move (household goods), then they can borrow our items and not feel obligated to purchase or rent items that they will only be using for a short time."
Items can be borrowed on a 30-day basis, according to Gonzalez. But exceptions can be made, if needed.
"If they are moving overseas they can borrow items 60 days before moving," she said. "If the Soldier's (household goods) are delayed in arriving, then they normally will call me and ask for an extension. Each extension is on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances or issues that the Soldier may be facing."
Patrons are asked to return items clean and in working condition, but Gonzalez understands accidents happen.
"I ask Soldiers to replace the item that is broken, lost or damaged," she said. "Depending on the inventory and the Soldier's situation, again, we work with them."
Aiding Soldiers and families has been a career-spanning effort for Gonzalez. She first volunteered for ACS Relocation Readiness in 2000 while stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she helped with the loan closet. She said it just felt natural to continue helping Soldiers and their families.
"Being able to lessen the burden on our young, single Soldiers, our young newlywed Soldiers and their spouses, and those seasoned Soldiers and their families helps me feel like I'm giving back to them and supporting their constant sacrifices while serving our country," she said. "If there is anything that we can provide our Soldiers while they transition and it is within my abilities, then I will try to make it happen.
"We have had several situations where Soldiers are assigned to Fort Rucker without their family and are unable to afford cooking items, small appliances, etc.," she added. "The relief they express when they are able to use our items and not worry about adding another debt to their finances is comforting. Also, our Soldiers and families who arrive from an overseas assignment and do not have their unaccompanied (household goods) or (household goods) arriving in the near future are very happy to be able to try and settle in with our Lending Hangar items until they receive their personal things. A home-cooked meal can help relieve many of our moving stressors."
The Lending Hangar is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call 255-3161.