Montel Williams Helped Give Back to Military Families During 2020 and 2021 Holiday Seasons



Military families overjoyed by Montel Williams and Pay Away the Layaway paying-off remaining NEX layaway balances during the 2020 and 2021 holiday seasons.

As we celebrate 10 years of spreading joy to families around the holiday season, we want to recognize some of the incredible impact we’ve had over the past decade with your support.

Pay Away the Layaway partnered with the Marine Corps Veteran and TV personality Montel Williams for the second year in a row to give back to our service members during the 2021 holiday season.

Military members were invited to their local Navy Exchange Service locations where they had an extra special surprise waiting for them.

In 2021, 374 military families who shopped at NEX Norfolk, NEX San Diego, NEX Orlando and NEX Pearl Harbor were overjoyed when celebrity guest Montel Williams joined them virtually to announce that their remaining layaway balances had been paid-off in full by the nonprofit Pay Away the Layaway.

In 2020, a total of 22 Navy Exchange (NEX) stores from all around the world participated, with each creating that special moment for deserving 250 military families. Military families were invited to a Zoom call, and were overjoyed when celebrity guest Montel Williams delivered the news that ALL 250 active layaways had been paid-off in full.

NEX shoppers were able to take home the children’s items including toys, clothing and bikes meant for the holidays that they had put on layaway earlier in the year, right then and there.

“My military service spanned over 22 years in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy so I’m honored to have an opportunity to share a message with our military families…Today I’m here to thank you for your service, and thank military service members for their courage, their determination and their sacrifice. I also know all too often that sacrifice in silence and that the holidays are particularly hard for military families on a budget,” Williams stated.

The holiday season was all the more special for the military families who were surprised with the unbelievable news.

“Warfighters and their families in the Pacific make enormous sacrifices to serve this Nation, and we are very happy to celebrate this unexpected gift with them,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Kovalchek, Exchange Pacific Region commander. “This welcome surprise will make the Christmas and holiday season all the more special this year.”

With the help of incredible Layaway Angels like Montel Williams, military families got an early holiday surprise that they’d never forget.

This was the 5th consecutive year that Pay Away the Layaway spread joy to Navy Exchange shoppers, and they hope to continue spreading joy to military families year after year.