The Fort Detrick Industries for the Blind Express store celebrated the 20th Anniversary of AbilityOne and the Base Supply Center program Sept. 17 at the store location.
The Fort Detrick IB Express store officially opened its doors in 2009 and currently employees five staffers; one legally blind and one legally deaf.
Industries for the Blind Chief Marketing Officer Rich Weigold reminded the crowd that the IB Express stores stand ready to support Fort Detrick’s mission and operations.
“We are here today in recognition and appreciation of the hard work of our AbilityOne base store managers and staff and to show our full support for all the efforts that they put forth every day,” said Weigold. “The longevity of this base store program, and the numerous endorsements that it has received from the highest level of government, is a testament to its ability to meet customer needs and expectations. We have a responsibility at every opportunity to ensure they remain a viable source of goods and services.”
Tommy Thomas, National Industries for the Blind director of Base Supply Centers, said, “It’s a great day to celebrate this 20th anniversary. We have 152 stores on military installations in 45 states, two territories, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in federal buildings. We are proud that Fort Detrick supports our national mission to employ blind personnel. By purchasing products through the BSC, we help sustain jobs by providing opportunities for blind personnel to have a better way of life,” said Thomas.
AbilityOne is the largest single source of jobs for individuals who are blind or have significant disabilities in the U.S.
The AbilityOne Base Supply Center program has provided thousands of jobs for people who are blind and severely disabled.
Col. Robert O’Brien, Fort Detrick U.S. Army Garrison commander, congratulated the IB Express store on their anniversary and a job well done.
“It is absolutely incredible to me the level of diversity here on Fort Detrick," said O'Brien. "Everywhere Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin Jordan and I go on this post, we see greatness, and this store is certainly no exception. It is a great day for us to be able to highlight the achievements of Fort Detrick as we move forward through our tenure here as the command team for the U.S. Army Garrison.”
O’Brien went on to say, “It is because of people like you that work at this store and people like you who are here today and on this post that makes Fort Detrick a great place to live, a great place to work, a great place to play and, more importantly, a great place to be. Congratulations on your 20th anniversary, well done.”
Karen Blake, ambassador of First Impressions and IB Express store clerk, thanked the crowd and shared about her time with IB Express.
“I’ve been here at the base supply center for 5.5 years. In addition to the financial benefit of my position, it’s given me more self-confidence and, I must say, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, both customers and staff, and I thank them very much, it’s been great.”
For more information on AbilityOne, visit http://www.abilityone.gov/.