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'Show Me State' Shows Greatest Support for Troops

Missouri -- 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. 

"These numbers have far exceeded our expectations here at Whiteman," said Becky Stover, Whiteman Base Exchange manager. "We value our small community. This is a tremendous show of their support to our military troops." 

Since the beginning of the year, supporters from 45 states and the District of Columbia have contributed to the Army & 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. 

From January through May, Missouri, home of Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood, garnered the most support as its 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 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® or USO. 

"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. 

The nation's top troop support states based on "Gifts From the Homefront" orders received from January through May 2007 are:

State                     "Gifts From the Homefront" certificates           Amount sent to troops

1. Missouri                                 3,889                                                               $78,150
2. Connecticut                              879                                                               $19,110
3. New York                                  119                                                                $10,735
4. Texas                                         314                                                               $   9,610
5. California                                  267                                                               $   8,855
6. Virginia                                      209                                                               $   8,535
7. Arizona                                      107                                                                $   5,205
8. Washington                              119                                                               $   4,345
9. Ohio                                           123                                                                $  3,520
10. Florida                                        85                                                               $  3,220

As of May 31, 86,857 "Gifts from the Homefront" gift certificates have been sent since the Department of Defense approved the exchange support campaign in March 2003. More than 22,000 of these have been delivered to service members and their families via AAFES' 10 charitable partners.