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Traveling commissary brings military market to Martinsburg

October 24, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Army National Guard Armory in Martinsburg was converted into a grocery store Saturday as hundreds of people associated with the U.S. military gathered there to enjoy savings on dozens of name-brand items.

Rena Dial, store director of the Andrews Air Force Base Commissary, said three truckloads of meat, produce and grocery items were shipped to the armory so past and present members of the military and their dependents could receive 32 percent to 60 percent savings on everything from beef to laundry detergent.

"This is an isolated area," Dials said. "Fort Detrick is the nearest (commissary). This gives us an opportunity to bring the savings to the customers."

She said some of the shoppers spent up to $500 during the Commissary On-site Sale.

Sgt. 1st Class Scott Truman of the 157th Military Police Co., the National Guard unit that occupies the Martinsburg armory, said the outfit hasn't been deployed to the Middle East since 2003.

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He thanked Maj. Gen. Allen Tackett and Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Vance of the West Virginia National Guard for making the event possible.

"As Guardsmen and reservists, we don't have the access to things on post that active duty members have," Truman said. "For them to bring it to us is very nice."

He said the only thing people needed to participate in the event was a military identification card.

A good portion of the customers on Saturday were retirees, Scott said. It didn't seem as though many active duty personnel participated.

Hagerstown resident Gerry Kendle said he retired from the Air National Guard about 18 months ago after 24 years of service, four of which were spent on active duty.

He said the sale is a great benefit to local military families.

"The commissary is OK at (Fort Detrick), but this brings it a lot closer to those in the area," Kendle said. "These days, we have to save as much as we can."

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