Driver with four million safe miles goes ‘where troops go’

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You would expect an organization whose motto is “We Go Where You Go” to have its fair share of one, two, even three million-mile safe drivers. But four million accident-free miles? No one at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service had ever even heard of such a feat until Higinio Ortiz tripped the odometer to become the military retailer’s first four million-mile motor vehicle operator.

“I’ve been in logistics for 24 years, and I’ve never heard of a four million miler,” says Bryan Ed of the AAFES distribution center in Waco. “It’s a first for us,” echos Steve Richardson, AAFES vice president of logistics.

Ortiz was honored for his historic achievement at a ceremony at AAFES headquarters in Dallas on Wednesday, Feb. 21. In addition to the myriad of awards and certificates he received, Ortiz was handed the keys to a new fully-loaded truck. The state-of-the-art big rig comes equipped with chrome wheel covers and muffler heat shields, as well as a four million-mile labeled license plate, blanket and mudflaps.

Ortiz began his 49-year career with the military’s largest and most senior exchange service as a clerk at the Ft. Bliss troop store in February 1958.