Good Neighbor Thrift Store went above and beyond to make a difference in the life of someone from the military.
Earlier this fall, Technical Sergeant Edwin Arocho was on leave with his family in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit.
For the next 11 days, he and his family were stranded without electricity and running water. A C-130 rescued the family and brought them back to Hurlburt Field.
And that’s where the thrift store, located at 9205 Navarre Parkway comes into the picture.
Someone from Navarre United Methodist Church – the church the store is a part of — asked if store manager Cheryl Fromularo and her staff would help out. No one hesitated to do so.
Fromularo and her staff gathered whatever they could to help the homecoming back to the states a little more comfortable for the family after what they had been through in Puerto Rico.
Originally, the request was for clothing only. Turns out the family received so much more.
Beds, furniture, lamps, tables and chairs, dishes, towels and sheets and even small appliances were donated by the store.
“We wanted them to come back to a home, and to a place where they could just exhale,” Fromularo said.
Being retired military herself, the story touched the heart of Fromularo.
“It was an amazing experience,” Fromularo said. “We weren’t only giving back to someone in the community who was in need, but we were giving back to one of our own.”
The military community stepped up as well with donations. Colonel Gary Dorman and Lieutenant Colonel Matt Schroeder both thanked the thrift store staff for its part in the effort to make the life of the family a little brighter.
Fromularo was even presented with a commander’s coin, which turns out, is a pretty big deal.
“They hand it out as a commendation for achievement or going above and beyond,” Fromularo said. “It’s a really thrilling thing to get. Here we are just doing what we are supposed to do and we get this amazing coin.”
To Fromularo, the thrift store was just serving its purpose, which is to meet the needs of the community and make it a better place.
“We’re not looking for any thanks. It’s pretty much anonymous niceness that we do,” Fromularo said. “This situation helping out the airmen and his family was a win-win and a great experience.”
With Christmas around the corner, Good Neighbor is an ideal place to find a gift for someone on your list. Because the store receives so many donations, it has the luxury of picking and choosing what it keeps to sell.
The monthly sidewalk sale is coming up. It’s scheduled for Dec. 15 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. All items are half off. The store will be closed from Dec. 23-Jan. 1.
Donations to the store that are not used are given to Helping Hands, which chooses what it sells in its stores. The items Helping Hands does not use are sold to a wholesaler.
And if you ever can’t find what you are looking for?
“Just ask,” Fromularo said. “We may have it but just don’t have the room to put it out on the sales floor yet.”
Good Neighbor Thrift Store
9025 Navarre Parkway
Mon-Fri: 9-4; Sat. 10-2