LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Air Force Base is letting more veterans onto the base so they can have more access to its facilities. Before the first of the year, only retired veterans were allowed access.

"I am so excited to offer expanded benefits for our veterans," said Col. Derrick Floyd.

Col. Derrick Floyd is the 19th Mission Support Group Commander at the Little Rock Air Force Base.

"This will open it up for all veterans who are service-connected disabled or purple heart recipients," he said.

Floyd said expanded access allows these veterans to be a part of the community again. Veterans can enjoy almost all the benefits on the base.

"They can come in and use the bowling center now. They can use our equipment rental," he said. 

They can also shop for groceries and at the Base exchange, which is basically a big retail store.

"Veterans don't have to pay taxes on anything in here, so they can save money on things like computers," explained Donald Cantwell. "We've heard from a few that they feel this has been a long time coming. They're very excited."

Cantwell, who is manager of the Base Exchange, says all military bases nationwide are doing this. It gives veterans everywhere an opportunity to feel connected.

"We like to honor all of those that have served our country who may not have retired," he said.

Any money spent on the base stays in the military community.

"We're very excited to welcome our veterans home. We're excited about this new program and willing to serve them," Cantwell added.

Veterans will need to have their veterans health ID card ready to show at the visitors center to gain access.

"They have done a tremendous job serving our country and it's awesome to be able to open up these new benefits for them," said Col. Floyd.

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