Joint Base Andrews officially opened the doors to its AbilityOne Base Supply Center during a grand opening ceremony here on Aug. 8. Operated by Blind Industries and Service of Maryland the supply center sells office and cleaning supplies, furniture, tools and uniforms as well as various other items that are essential to the installation's military and civilian personnel.
The Andrews Base Supply Center is located in Building 3066 on East Perimeter Road here and employs two legally-blind associates. Utilizing the latest in non-visual technology, hand-held scanners and screen reading computer software help the employees take an active role in reducing the 70 percent unemployment rate for blind or visually impaired U.S. citizens. Additionally, there are more than 25 visually-impaired associates employed at BISM Base Supply Centers nationwide.
"Nothing gets done without the products that this supply center provides," said Col. William Knight, Joint Base Andrews commander. "This center's employees may be blind, but they in no way lack vision. They clearly see the service that their products provide to not only Andrews but to all military installations."
Along with Andrews, BISM owns and operates Base Supply Centers at Dover AFB, Del.; Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.; Fort Knox, Ky.; and at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C.
Maryland Lt. Gov., the Honorable Anthony Brown, was also in attendance at the ceremony. A former Army officer, Brown highlighted the importance of supply centers to military and non-military personnel alike.
"By supporting this supply center you're supporting Blind Industries and Services of Maryland and our mutual goal of expanding opportunity to all Marylanders," said Brown. "These centers are an integral part of achieving that goal of expansion."
Andrews' Base Supply Center is open from 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To learn more about the center, call 301-599-0316. To learn more about Blind Industries and Services of Maryland, visit www.bism.org.