New changes at SAMS Place

From left to right:  Marine Pfc. Rueben Johnson, Marine Pvt. Antonio Trejo (carrying box), Marine Pfc. Alison Wilson and Marine Pvt. Michael Brunett volunteered to pack up winter clothing items at SAMS Place Mar. 5 in order to make room for clothing items more suitable for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

From left to right: Marine Pfc. Rueben Johnson, Marine Pvt. Antonio Trejo (carrying box), Marine Pfc. Alison Wilson and Marine Pvt. Michael Brunett volunteered to pack up winter clothing items at SAMS Place Mar. 5 in order to make room for clothing items more suitable for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- New changes are occurring at SAMS Place. New management and new hours of operations are just a few of them.

SAMS Place is Goodfellow Air Force Base's version of what other Air Force bases call the Airman's Attic. SAMS is an acronym that stands for Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors. "We wanted to give the place an identity and provide a sense of welcome to the other services," said Tech. Sgt. Marlon Pugh, former president of the Goodfellow Rising 6, the organization that sponsors SAMS Place.

SAMS Place is for enlisted servicemembers, active-duty, reserve or guard, E-1 through E-6, all services, and their dependents. It provides them with items such as uniforms, civilian clothing and household items like toasters, ironing boards and dishes among other things. The items provided at SAMS Place are thanks to the generosity and donations
made by caring people. Technical school students and military members who are permanently or temporarily changing
their duty station can also take advantage of the services SAMS Place offers.

The new manager of SAMS Place agrees it's a great place for anyone to go.

"I've known about SAMS Place since arriving on base, but never managed to stop by when it was open. When the search for a new manager was sent out, my husband, Marine Staff Sgt. Curtis Sliger, let me know. I talked with the staff about its history and their hopes for SAMS, as well as my background and experience, and it seemed like a good fit," said Toni Sliger, SAMS Place's newest facility manager, who took over from Sonja Stephens.

Mrs. Stephens ran SAMS from fall 2006 till early February.

"I took over SAMS about three weeks ago, when Sonja was finally ready to put her feet up and relax a bit before her baby arrives," said Mrs. Sliger. "With Senior Airman Heidi Stein (former SAMS Place assistant facility manager) leaving in April, it was perfect timing and we were able to do a complete changeover easily," Mrs. Sliger added.

"The hard work Sonja Stephens and Airman Stein put in to SAMS has made our job easier taking over, and every day we hear from customers how much of a difference they made. They should know that they are both missed," Mrs. Sliger continued.

The leaving of Airman Stein led to what some may consider the biggest change to SAMS Place since the program moved from a building now demolished to its current location next to the Eisenhower Bank across the base's parade grounds parking lot. The position of assistant facility manager is not being filled by just one individual this time, but three.

"We decided to increase the SAMS staff a little, so I have a civilian assistant manager, Zac Taylor, who's been a SAMS volunteer for a number of months, as well as two Air Force assistant managers, Senior Airman Hiliary Bauer, and Senior Airman Anelle Perez. It's a great team - our strengths really balance well. I think we're all looking forward to making SAMS bigger and even better," Mrs. Sliger said.

The change in staff has allowed the implementation of some new ideas.

"We are adding Saturdays to our schedule. We'll be open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., to start, with potential for more if the need arises. We are also reorganizing our space to offer the best shopping experience to our customers," she said. "Our priority, first and foremost, is to make sure we have what our customers need, and that we provide a pleasant and comfortable environment in which to shop. In order to truly meet the needs of all our customers, I would love to see SAMS expand - a larger space means more customers served! We have offers of larger items that we just don't have the space to display. And with more space we could expand our food pantry and children's room - the potential is really endless," she added. "I'd also like to see the community get more involved with SAMS Past experience has shown me that in a military town, the community is more than happy to help, and I intend to utilize that help in any way I can," Mrs. Sliger said excitedly.

Mrs. Sliger said she would ultimately love to see SAMS merge with the currently defunct Thrift Shop here on base. She believes it would be a great way to have maximum resources reaching the largest number of families, and could make SAMS self-sufficient by using any funds raised to support the food pantry service SAMS place has.

"That's something that's off in the future, but I can dream, can't I?" Mrs. Sliger commented.

SAMS Place is currently in need of uniforms for all branches, clothes and outdoor gear.

"Donations of clothing appropriate to the coming weather are much appreciated, but we'll take any clothing in good condition - we'll need cold weather clothes again eventually (especially for children of all sizes)," said Mrs. Sliger. "In addition to the items we always accept (toys, kitchen items, etc), there are a few things we could especially use right now. Metal or wooden shelves (garage type, or storage) would help a lot. Donations for our Children's Area, especially stackable bins for toys, shelving, wall decorations, or white boards would be great! We could really use non-perishable food items and diapers of any size to help our pantry stock," Mrs. Sliger added.

Mrs. Sliger reminds donors that uniforms should be serviceable. Multi-component toys and games should be complete. Clothes should be without stains and holes. And food items unopened and free of dents. She especially wants people to remember, "SAMS is not just for Airmen - it's for Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors."

For more information call, 654-5781 during operating hours, Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and second and fourth Saturdays of the Month 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.