By Jim Hughes, Fort Rucker Public AffairsJune 11, 2019
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Tight budgets can make duty station transitions stressful, but the Army Community Service Lending Hangar provides relief for Soldiers and families on the move.
The Lending Hangar, located in Rm. 177 of Bldg. 5700, offers basic household items to inbound and outbound Soldiers and family members, Department of the Army civilian employees and certain contractors during permanent change of station moves or temporary duty assignments to Fort Rucker, according to Doug Schwab, relocation readiness program manager at ACS.
"Our goal is to support Soldiers and family members when they arrive or depart," Schwab said. "So, if their household items aren't here, we can help give them comfort. And there's the monetary savings, as well -- they don't have to buy paper plates or plastic silverware or a new coffee pot while they're waiting for theirs. They can borrow our items and save that money, and it also helps prevent them from having to go out to eat -- dining out with a big family can get pretty expensive."
And while the Lending Hangar may not be able to provide Soldiers and family members all of the comforts of home, it can provide temporary respite from being in one place while all of their stuff is in another, he added.
Items available to borrow from the Lending Hangar include folding tables and chairs, rollaway beds, sleeping mats, dishes, utensils, and small appliances such as toaster ovens, microwaves, coffee makers, rice cookers, blenders and irons, Schwab said.
"It's all designed to fit in a small car -- except for the rollaway beds, you'll need a truck or SUV for those," he added.
But what it doesn't provide are things like washers and dryers, linens or cleaning supplies, Schwab said.
"We have the essentials to help families so they're not trying to stay in a hotel while they're still paying rent somewhere else," he said. "And when they're leaving, the benefit is they can ship their household goods from here early to help reduce the wait time at their new duty station -- it's better to be uncomfortable in a place you know than to be uncomfortable in a place you've never been to before."
And it really is as easy as one, two, three.
1. Visit the Lending Hangar Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Fill out a pre-made hand receipt with basic information like: name, unit, address, etc.
3. Grab what you need.
"When they come in, I put a bucket out for them -- a big tote they can take with them, so they don't have to try to balance all of those dishes out to their car," he said. I tell them what's on each shelf, and they pick things off of the shelves, I'm checking it off. When they're done, they look over the hand receipt, sign it, and I put a copy of it in their bucket."
People can even drive to the dock after they've gathered their items, back up to the dock, put the items in their car and drive away, Schwab added.
"There's no time limit -- I don't care how long it takes them, as long as they're happy." he said.
And with that stress relief and cost savings, they should be happy. Based on his calculations over the past three years, Schwab estimates the Lending Hangar saves its patrons in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year.
To benefit from the Lending Hangar, no appointment is necessary. Just show up during its hours of operation and Schwab will be at the ready to provide the help.
For more information on the Lending Hangar, call 255-3161 or 255-2887.