During a groundbreaking ceremony today, Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) heralded a new $15 million commissary for Southwestern Pennsylvania military families, veterans, and reservists. The groundbreaking comes after six years of determined efforts by Murphy to secure funding and the required approvals to build a replacement facility for the store located on the grounds of the closed Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Collier.
"Our new commissary has been six years in the making, but it will be well worth the wait for the 168,000 veterans, reservists, and active-duty soldiers in our region who've given so much in service to our country," Congressman Murphy said. "Soldiers often tell me one of the most important and underappreciated benefits they receive is the commissary because it helps them make ends meet on tight budgets. I'm honored and humbled to have worked on their behalf to see this commissary become a reality."
In 2005, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) identified the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility (CEKSF) in Oakdale for closure. Closing the facility meant that 168,000 eligible military personnel and veterans in Southwestern Pennsylvania would lose access to the commissary, post exchange, and military clothing sales store they had come to rely on.
Rep. Murphy worked to include language in the BRAC report to delay a decision, then secured the funding needed to build a new 40,000 square foot store in Moon Township. Over the last two years, Murphy worked behind the scenes to clear bureaucratic hurdles that had delayed construction. Construction is expected to be completed by October 2013.
Commissaries provide access to discounted groceries to military personnel, retirees, and their families. Authorized patrons can purchase items at cost plus a five percent surcharge (to cover the expenses of operating, modernizing, and building commissaries). Families save an average of more than thirty percent on purchases compared to commercial prices, which can amount to thousands of dollars saved annually for our service members.