Case lot sales to return to commissaries

The Defense Commissary Agency announced last week it will reinstate the September case lot sale for stores in the continental U.S.

Each stateside store will hold a two- to three-day sale between Aug. 16 and Sept. 30. The popular sales were discontinued for budget reasons.

No additional operating funds have been allocated to commissaries to conduct its case lot sale, said Nancy O’Nell, agency spokeswoman. Store management must execute the case lot sale within the store’s normal operating budget.

The agency is relying on its industry partners to provide enough assistance to make the case lot sale a success.

Products selected for the sale will be top-selling items commissary suppliers are offering at a discount during the case lot sale. Customers can expect about 100 products in cases during the sale.

Most products available during the sale will be sold in full cases, O’Nell said. A smaller number of products may be sold in club packs at some stores.

The dates of sales for specific commissary locations have not been announced.

Rose L. Thayer

Operation Phantom Support honored as top-rated nonprofit

Operation Phantom Support was honored with a 2014 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, which reviews nonprofit organizations.

“We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2014 Nonprofit,” said John Valentine, the founder and CEO of Operation Phantom Support. “We are proud of our accomplishments this year, including the growth of our Phantom family. Since we started the pantry and resale store back in December 2012, we have now close to 800 families (more than 2,500 people) benefiting from our food pantry weekly as well as our resale center on 315 E. Avenue C, downtown Killeen.”

The award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Operation Phantom Support received, according to a release. Reviews were written based on the personal experiences of volunteers, donors and clients.

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. “People with direct experience with Operation Phantom Support have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

The nonprofit is currently planning its Summer Break Kick Off Festival for children.

“We are still in need of sponsorship for food items, equipment, small toys for prizes and volunteers,” Valentine said.

Rose L. Thayer

Brown’s Creek fire 85 percent contained

A fire that began Sunday at Brown’s Creek multiuse range was reported as 85 percent contained Tuesday, Fort Hood Fire Chief Billy Rhoads said.

The fire was originally estimated at 1,500 acres, but reduced to 600 acres near an impact area Monday.

Throughout Monday, several Black Hawk helicopters with 660-gallon buckets and one Chinook with a 2,000-gallon bucket dropped water on the fire, said Chris Haug, Fort Hood spokesman. No one was injured and no houses, structures or infrastructure were threatened by the fire.

Rose L. Thayer

Fewer vets in Congress could impact legislation

Nearly 20 percent of congressional members are veterans — the lowest percentage since it peaked in 1977 when 80 percent of Congress had military experience, according to data compiled by the Air Force Sergeants Association.

In Central Texas — an area with a dense veteran and active-duty population — none of its representatives in Washington, D.C., are veterans.

The number of veterans in Congress is expected to decline along with the number of veterans in the general population. Today, about 7 percent of Americans served in the military and less than 1 percent currently serve. In Bell County, about 12 percent of residents are veterans, according to census data.

Read full story at

Rose L. Thayer

First lady announces pledges for veterans, their families

WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama announced pledges from foundations and corporations totaling more than $160 million last week to help veterans and their families get the services they need as the country adjusts to a postwar footing.

Calling this a “pivotal moment for our military families and for our country” as the war in Afghanistan ends, the first lady said military families should never have to face the challenges associated with the transition to civilian life alone.

Appearing at a conference of philanthropic groups, Obama warned that with fewer homecoming videos and welcome-home parades for returning troops likely in future years, “we cannot allow ourselves to forget their service to our country. ... We’ve got to show our military families that our country is there for them not just while they’re in uniform but for the long haul.”

The Associated Press

Military benefits survive cuts in committee vote

WASHINGTON — An Army corporal would get a full housing allowance to rent an off-base apartment while a military family will see little change in their grocery costs at the commissary as an election-year Congress rebuffed Pentagon efforts to trim military benefits. The House Armed Services personnel subcommittee voted unanimously April 30 to leave intact the current military health care system, the housing allowance and much of the Pentagon’s $1.4 billion in direct subsidies to the commissaries. Read full story at

The Associated Press

First Army Division West Volunteer of the Year announced

A company commander at Fort Hood earned distinction as First Army Division West’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year recently.

“Volunteering has always been a part of my life,” said Capt. William Brown, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, First Army Division West. “I believe identifying the needs of our community and taking steps to have an impact on them is our responsibility as citizens.”

Introduced to organizations in Central Texas early on as an AmeriCorps volunteer during his college years, Brown found many people who were extremely passionate about making the world a better place.

“My family, teachers, and mentors taught me the value of service by being active in our church and community as a kid,” he said. “I’ve had the good fortune of being able to help others with their visions of making the community a better place and have had the support of others with my own vision.”

Division West Public Affairs

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