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John Koltes, manager of the Car Care Center at Lincoln Village in Darmstadt, Germany, gives a free 18-point inspection. Koltes found three bolts missing on the exhaust of this VW Golf.

John Koltes, manager of the Car Care Center at Lincoln Village in Darmstadt, Germany, gives a free 18-point inspection. Koltes found three bolts missing on the exhaust of this VW Golf. (Jessica Iñigo / S&S)

With servicemembers tied up in operations around the world, family members left behind sometimes struggle with the stress of being both mom and dad.

Operation Family, sponsored by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, aims to help parents and children cope with current deployments.

Everything from movie passes to free, 18-point car inspections are offered to family members through AAFES facilities across Europe, and the program will include different events in each community.

“Our motto ‘We Go Where You Go’ is really aimed at deployed troops,” said Maj. Mitch Edgar, an AAFES spokesman. “So we wanted to do something for family members who decided to remain behind in Europe as troops deployed to help relieve their stress.”

Family-oriented activities include matinee movies for 99 cents, free movie passes for parents purchasing a school lunch with their child, a free children’s movie rental with a regular priced rental and a free automotive check.

At the Bookmark in Aviano, Italy, children will enjoy some Easter fun. “Peter Rabbit” will be read, coloring books will be handed out, and free ice cream will be offered Saturday.

For the grown-ups, Lancôme will sponsor free facials from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, and Estee Lauder will offer makeovers from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 26 at the base exchange in Aviano.

Burger King and the base shopette have teamed to give customers who purchase a king-size value meal a free movie rental in Aviano, as well.

“While their spouses are away, we’re trying to make their stay as pleasant as possible,” Julie Maldonado, Aviano BX Sales and Merchandise manager, said.

The post exchange in Darmstadt, Germany, will offer a free trip to the larger Mainz-Kastel Post Exchange in Wiesbaden on Tuesday. There will also be a Bike Safety Clinic on April 26.

“We try to do whatever we can to make family members feel at home here,” said Deborah Williams, assistant manager of the Darmstadt PX.

Along with the bus trip, the Darmstadt PX also has customer order forms available to have items at other exchanges transferred directly to customers in Darmstadt.

Children will get four free rides at a kids carnival April 26 at the Hainerberg Food Court at the front of the Main Post Exchange in Mainz-Kastel. The carnival also will offer face-painting, a clown making balloon animals, a story corner, a petting zoo, free candy, a baby race, a soccer kickoff, a “Coolest Skateboard in Wiesbaden” contest and a video arcade competition.

“Local managers are encouraged to do innovative activities in their communities to help benefit the customers,” Edgar said.

Call your local AAFES facilities for information on activities.


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