San Angelo, Texas, truly loves having the Goodfellow Air Force Base as a partner in the city of 93,000. And Goodfellow, for its part, loves having the support--and opportunities to assist the community. Talk about your mutually beneficial relationships!
“It really is a symbiotic relationship,” says Kent Cummins, chief of Goodfellow AFB public affairs. “No kidding. I have never seen community relations as good as what we have here. It’s both ways. It is impressive.”
Goodfellow AFB is home to the Seventeenth Training Wing, a training facility of the Air Force's Air Education & Training Command. The facility prepares more than 2,100 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and Department of Defense civilians for cryptology and general intelligence careers in the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
Cummins says he has served around the country at Air Force and Army installations, and San Angelo and Goodfellow AFB (named for San Angelo native and World War I pilot First Lt. John J. Goodfellow, Jr.) have set a high bar for civilian-military cooperation.
Annual Appreciation Picnic
One example is the annual Goodfellow Appreciation Day Picnic San Angelo throws for the base’s personnel each May, serving up hearty heapings of Texas barbeque and staging fun activities for personnel and their families. The event, coordinated by the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, is held at the Goodfellow Recreation Camp at Lake Nasworthy.
“I have never seen that done. They do all the work and have activities for families. It’s really outstanding,” Cummins says.
Phil Neighbors, San Angelo Chamber of Commerce president, says offering appreciation to the base and its personnel is very much warranted.
$513 Million Economic Impact
Not only did the base contribute $513 million to the San Angelo area economy during fiscal year 2011, but the installation is the county’s largest employer, with 4,998 workers in 2011. But Neighbors says more important than economic impact is the role the base plays in volunteering in the community, such as at schools, advisory councils, fund-raisers, parades, community cleanups and charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters.
What San Angelo and Goodfellow AFB do is literally join hands on projects and initiatives to serve the community, Neighbors says.
“They are a fantastic partner in all of our community activities,” Neighbors says. “They spend thousands of man hours in the community every year. It is significant that they spend time and quality effort in serving the community while they are here.”
Cummins says volunteerism is so important to the base that a dedicated person serves as the volunteer coordinator.
“The relationship between San Angelo and Goodfellow shows that sometimes you can do things for the military community that don’t require any money--they're just a way of saying thank you," says Air Force Col.-Retired Johnny Griffin, who chairs the Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee that brings together indivuduals from the base and community to work on projects.
“People in Texas and San Angelo are supporting the military and through that are supporting the people of the military. The military is an entity. What you are really supporting are the people,” Griffin says.
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