Missouri Shows Generosity

American Forces Press Service

DALLAS, June 28, 2007 - When it comes to showing support for America's troops, Missouri is living up to its nickname as the "Show Me State" by sending nearly 4,000 base and post exchange gift certificates to soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.

So far this year, supporters from 45 states and the District of Columbia have contributed to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's "Gifts From the Homefront" program, with Missouri far and away the most generous, sending an average of 778 military exchange gift certificates a month.

Missouri is home to Whiteman Air Force Base and the Army's Fort Leonard Wood. From January through May, the state's residents ordered 3,889 gift certificates worth $78,150. Connecticut came in second with 879 orders totaling $19,110. New York placed third, with Texas and California rounding out the top five.

"There are so many different ways to show support for the troops, but we found 'Gifts From the Homefront' to be the most practical and efficient," said Michelle Harthill, whose Missouri-based company, Harthill Marketing Services, purchased 50 gift certificates in February. "This way, troops can get exactly what they need, when they need it."

"Gifts From the Homefront" can be sent to deployed troops by logging on to or calling 877-770-4438. From there, the gift certificates are sent to individual servicemembers designated by the purchaser or are distributed to "any servicemember" through the Air Force Aid Society, American Red Cross, Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, Fisher House, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Operation Homefront, Operation Interdependence or the United Service Organizations.

"Gifts From the Homefront" gift certificates can be redeemed at exchange facilities worldwide. Recent reports indicate troops shopping their contingency exchanges are reaching for beauty items, soft drinks, snacks, military exchange global prepaid calling cards, magazines, movies and more.

As of May 31, 86,857 "Gifts from the Homefront" gift certificates have been sent since Defense Department officials approved the exchange support campaign in March 2003. More than 22,000 of these have been delivered to servicemembers and their families via the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's 10 charitable partners.

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