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DALLAS, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ — In 2007, all of America was united in support of its military as people from every state in the union sent a helping hand in the form of gift certificates redeemable for items of convenience and necessity at BXs and PXs around the globe.

Missouri, home of Whiteman AFB and Fort Leonard Wood, led the charge by sending 7,106 gift certificates worth more than $144,000. Not surprisingly, states with the most active duty military members were the staunchest advocates of Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines this past year. Six of the top 15 contributing states (California, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Washington) boasted some of the nation’s highest active duty numbers.

Two states that are no strangers to adversity proved that their residents know the value of assistance as Louisiana and Mississippi accounted for two of the top 10 states sending monetary support through the BX/PX gift certificate effort.

“The support that all of America has shown our military this year is awe inspiring and heartwarming,” said the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Eaton. “While a lot has been done since Jan. 1, it is important that we continue to stand together in support of our troops for the remainder of this year and beyond.”

“Gifts From the Homefront” can be sent to deployed troops by logging on to http://www.aafes.org or calling 877-770-4438. From there, the gift certificates are sent to individual service members (designated by the purchaser) or distributed to “any service member” 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(R) or USO. “Gifts From the Homefront” gift certificates can be redeemed at exchange facilities worldwide. Some of the most popular items picked up by troops at the 53 BX/PX locations throughout Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom in 2007 included Monster Energy drinks, Red Bull, laptop computers and Frappuccinos.

The nation’s top troop support states based on “Gifts From the Homefront” orders received from January through November 2007 are as follows (the entire list can be obtained by logging onto http://www.aafes.com/docs/gfhfchart.pdf):

State           “Gifts From the Homefront”        Amount sent to troops
certificates

1. Missouri              7,106                         $144,345
2. New York              1,156                          $32,785
3. Connecticut             982                          $21,325
4. Texas                   670                          $20,005
5. California              537                          $17,105
6. Louisiana               270                          $13,230
7. Illinois              1,270                          $13,050
8. Virginia                282                          $10,175
9. Washington, D.C.        245                          $10,080
10. Mississippi            894                          $10,050

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a joint command and is directed by a Board of Directors which is responsible to the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the Service Chiefs of Staff. AAFES has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs. To find out more about AAFES’ history and mission or to view recent press releases please visit our Web site at http://www.aafes.com/pa/default.asp.

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