Armed Forces Day was established in 1949 as an opportunity to acknowledge and thank members of our military branches for their service. On this day, we honor our servicemen and servicewomen by highlighting MSP’s Armed Forces Service Center (AFSC) and its more than 200 volunteers who “serve those who serve” every day.
Located in Terminal 1 on the mezzanine level above the ticket lobby, the AFSC is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Volunteers provide free food, shelter, and services for traveling military members and their dependents. A nonprofit facility, the AFSC is supported by contributions from veterans’ organizations, corporations, and individuals.
The center was opened in 1970 by Maggie Purdam, whose son died while serving in Vietnam. Since then, the center has never closed—even following the September 11th attacks when 16 marines were housed at the center for five days due to airport closures.
More than 200 volunteers assist the AFSC with upkeep and customer service, ensuring guests are warmly welcomed and cared for. From a lounge area with a dining table and buffet, to free use of iPads, computers, cell phones, printers and Wi-Fi, to 26 sleeping bunks, it’s truly a home away from home for those serving and their families.
In early 2017, service members and AFSC volunteers were honored at the AFSC annual dinner where Ed Buyers, a Navy Seal and recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, attended as a distinguished guest. Volunteers were awarded pins for 50 hours, 100 hours and even 8,500 hours of service, as a few volunteers have supported the center since it opened in 1970.