Senators, congressmen, service members and other guests put on their hard hats and grabbed shovels to mark a significant moment for the military community in southwestern Pennsylvania.
They all came together at the McGarrity Reserve Center for a purpose: to give the local military community a place to shop for things they need. Today’s groundbreaking hosted by the Army Reserve’s 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) marked the first step toward that achievement.
“We’ve been deeply engaged with this since May 2005,” said retired Air Force Col. Jerry Kintigh, Chairman of the board for the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Job Retention and Military Presence. Kintigh was pleased because the new facility will preserve Exchange shopping services in the region. “This is a step forward toward progress for the military community.”
The Post Exchange will be adjacent to the new commissary, which is currently under construction. The Exchange and commissary are expected to draw more than 4,300 customers per month and serve more than 30,000 shoppers within a 40-mile radius.
The Moon Township Post Exchange will be shopped by not only active duty service members but also the Army, Air Force, and Navy Reserve, in addition to the Army and Air National Guard units – all of which are or very soon will be within a few miles of the Pittsburgh International Airport.
“Convenient access to military uniforms and supplies is invaluable, considering there is no active duty military installation in southwestern Pennsylvania. Service members would, otherwise, have to travel a great distance to buy what they need to perform their duties, “said Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district
This Exchange will carry military clothing items, household goods and even include a snack and barber shop.
“This region, which we know has served this country in every war and has served in great numbers, needed to have a first class facility,” said former Rep. Mark Critz, former congressmen for the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
The Exchange will invest approximately $4 million to bring this facility to its valued military service customers in the area. The store, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will be 10,650 sq. feet and will replace decades-old structures at the Charles E. Kelly Reserve Center in Oakdale, Pa.
“One of the ways that public officials prove themselves worthy of the valor of our troops is to provide these services for our troops and their families,” said Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. “It’s long overdue and was the least we could do to pay tribute and express gratitude to our fighting men and women and their families.”