Veterans excited about commissary at Dobbins

By ALEX McRAE Local veterans worried they might have to drive to Columbus to exercise their PX and commissary privileges when facilities close at Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson can breathe a sigh of relief. U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Phil Gingrey have announced a new commissary to serve metro area veterans will be built at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
Dick Stender, Coweta veterans advocate and past commander of American Legion Post 57, said, "That is truly great news. I know a lot of people who wondered where they would go when the commissary and PX closed at Fort Gillem and Fort Mac." Stender said PX and commissary privileges for veterans not only helps them save money, but provides many veterans a link to their past service. "Many vets served all over the world, but wherever you went you could count on the PX and commissary as a familiar place," Stender said. "Going back to the commissary isn't just a money-saver, it has a certain nostalgia for many of our vets. For some who served for decades, it's like going back home." Commissaries often carry food from places like Korea, Japan and Germany, where so many vets were stationed. Stender calls that an added bonus. "A lot of us got used to eating the food overseas and liked it," Stender said. "It's nice to be able to get it close to home. The commissaries at Fort Gillem and Fort Mac are scheduled to close in 2011. If the new commissary at Dobbins had not been approved, veterans would have had to travel as far as Fort Benning in South Columbus to use their commissary privileges. Isakson, Chambliss and Gingrey have been working for more than a year to try to ensure a seamless transition between the closure of existing commissaries serving metro Atlanta and construction of the new commissary, according to a press release issued by the three lawmakers. "This is fantastic news for Dobbins as well as for the thousands of military personnel and veterans in the metro Atlanta area," said Isakson, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Gingrey said, "I applaud the Department of Defense for recognizing that those men and women who have served our country so honorably should not be left without convenient access to these critical facilities. I look forward to continuing to work to make this become a reality." Chambliss said, "I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure Dobbins receives the funding to move forward with this project."

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