It’s been nine years since the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Oakdale was slated for closure, a move that could have left 168,000 veterans and active duty military personnel in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio without a commissary or post exchange nearby.
Pennsylvania delegates in Congress, including Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and Representatives Tim Murphy, Mike Doyle and others have been pushing for a replacement facility ever since.
Today, that effort came to fruition, as legislators and military personnel celebrated the grand opening of the new commissary and Post Exchange at the McGarity Reserve Center in Moon Township.
“This is a place where military veterans, active duty, reservists and guardsman can purchase food items, uniforms and other sundries at a discounted price as a part of their earned benefits in the military,” Murphy said.
Murphy said there were a number of construction delays and bureaucratic battles to overcome, including questions about who had the final say on the project, the Pentagon or the Army Reserve unit where the new stores are located.
“We had to go back and forth on that, get a number of lawyers involved, and we finally said ‘Let’s just get it done. Let’s stop arguing about this because we’re all working on the same team,’” Murphy said.
Murphy said $17.5 million in appropriations from the federal government helped make the $21 million project a reality.
“Without that, I don’t think it would have happened, and we would have had military families that had to travel to Dayton, Ohio or Carlisle, Penn. to get the things that they needed,” Murphy said.