A Vietnam veteran received a belated holiday present at the Luke Air Force Base Exchange — his credit card bill was paid off as a grand-prize winner of the “Military Star Your Holiday Bill Is on Us” sweepstakes.
Alfred Taitano, who served eight years in the Army, including two in Vietnam, received his prize in a ceremony at the Luke AFB Exchange on March 16. Mr. Taitano’s Military Star balance was lower than the grand-prize minimum of $2,500, so he received a statement credit for that amount.
“It is a nice, wonderful, shocking gift for me and my family,” Mr. Taitano, who has lived in Glendale for more than a decade, shared in a news release. “This will help me out, especially during this time, with the pandemic.”
Luke AFB 56th Mission Support Group commander Col. Ryan Richardson and Luke AFB Exchange General Manager Aileen Beck presented Mr. Taitano with his prize.
“So many Vietnam veterans were not properly thanked for their service,” Ms. Beck said. “It’s an honor for the Exchange to present this prize to Sgt. Taitano and celebrate the selfless sacrifices he made for our country.”
A native of Guam, Mr. Taitano enlisted in 1965. After returning from Vietnam, he spent about six years as a drill instructor, including overseas in Germany. He considers it an honor to have served in the military.
“That’s the pride I feel in my chest. It’s why I give back to the community,” said Mr. Taitano, who volunteers with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and other community programs. “I feel blessed to be a veteran and to have fought for freedom.”
Mr. Taitano frequently shops the BX with his Military Star card, which earns shoppers 2% in rewards points. Every 2,000 points earned, shoppers receive a $20 rewards card.
“I love shopping with the rewards card,” he said. “It’s a good program; I’m very happy with it. We make use of the Military Star card and it has helped us out.”
This is the second year in a row the Luke Air Force Base Exchange has been home to a sweepstakes grand-prize winner. Last year, retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Mills also took home a $2,500 statement credit.
Mr. Taitano was one of five grand-prize winners who had their entire Military Star balances paid off (or received a statement credit if their balance was below $2,500) in the sweepstakes. Ten second-place winners received $1,000 statement credits and 25 third-place winners received $500 statement credits. Since the sweepstakes began, Military Star has paid off nearly $250,000 in balances for service members and their families.
During November and December, shoppers worldwide automatically earned an entry in the Your Holiday Bill Is on Us Sweepstakes when they used their Military Star card at any military exchange, ShopMyExchange.com, myNavyExchange.com or at the commissary. The Army & Air Force Exchange Service collaborated with the Navy Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange, Coast Guard Exchange and the Defense Commissary Agency to sponsor the sweepstakes.
The Military Star card is an exclusive line of credit for service members and their families to use at exchanges and commissaries – no matter where they serve.