Story and photo by Catherine Ross
Special to the Mountaineer
Instead of driving nearly five miles to the closest installation gas station or restaurant, Soldiers working on or near Butts Army Air Field now have a new Exchange facility in their area, the Wilderness Express.
The Exchange held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 2 for the facility, located in building 9478 on Wilderness Road, that features four gas pumps and an Express store that sells snacks, food items and beverages. The south side of the retail space is home to a Subway, barber shop and Patriot Outfitters.
Patricia Austin, General Manager of Exchange facilities in the Colorado Springs area, presided over the event, sharing the ceremonial ribbon-cutting duties with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Steven O. Green, and facility manager Eileen Charles.
Austin encouraged the Fort Carson community to shop at the new facility, which replaced an Exchange trailer formerly located across the street from the new 8,500-square-foot structure.
“By shopping at Exchange facilities, you are giving back to the community,” she said, explaining that the Exchange gave $1.5 million in dividends back to the Fort Carson community last year.
“With the Subway here, it’s very convenient for Soldiers, instead of having to drive all the way back to (main) post,” said Exchange administrative assistant Michelle Loredo.
“It’s a huge convenience,” said Sgt. 1st Class Todd Mayes, while standing in line to take advantage of Subway’s six-inch sub giveaway to its first 100 customers. “I usually eat lunch at my office,” he said. Serving with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Mayes works near the new facility and said that he did not normally eat out for lunch because it was “too packed to go to (the main) post.”
The ribbon-cutting event also included a $25 Exchange gift card giveaway and free promotional items from Exchange vendors.