The Base Community Council: Serving those who serve
By Capt. Karl Wiest, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 15, 2015
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
There are many aspects of Whiteman AFB that make it unique - like its mission and its ability to project power all across the globe. And we all know that mission can't happen without the hard work and dedication of Team Whiteman.
However, there are some members of Team Whiteman whose hard work and dedication is not focused primarily on the mission. Instead, their focus is on you and those folks are the members of the Base Community Council (BCC).
"The BCC consists of over 350 civilian members from 18 surrounding communities", said Brig. Gen. Glen VanHerck, 509th BW commander, "and their goal is pretty simple - to support the joint service personnel here at Whiteman. On an average year the BCC will spend upwards of $25,000 on programs and initiatives designed for our Airmen and our joint service personnel."
The BCC meets monthly and each of the 18 featured communities is paired with a squadron from Whiteman. The squadron commanders of those respective units are encouraged to meet with members of their liaison city by attending monthly chamber meetings, special events, ribbon cuttings, and festivals designed to build rapport with these communities.
"I see the BCC as a means to create amiable relations between the military and the civilian populous and an avenue to creating a meaningful and friendly partnership" said the Honorable William Kolas, Mayor of Higginsville, Mo, and current BCC President. "The BCC is committed to taking care of the airmen and all those serving at Whiteman AFB through the numerous activities that the BCC sponsors each year."
And they sponsor a lot of events.
"We (the BCC) sponsor events and activities such as Air Shows, troop deployments and the returning of servicemembers from deployment", said Mayor Kolas. "We also provide recognition at awards ceremonies, we provide meals at the Spirit Café, we host military appreciation days at UM and UCM, and we provide holiday decorations for in the dorms just to name a few."
The BCC also helps fund nearly two dozen squadron Christmas parties on base each year and also recently rented caps and gowns for Airmen graduating from the Community College of the Air Force. But the BCC is not stopping there.
"The BCC leadership and membership is open to suggestions and recommendations to how better support Whiteman AFB and to best serve the servicemembers there" added Mayor Kolas. "That is our purpose and that is why the BCC exists - to serve those who serve."
The council's commitment to the base is unparalleled and needs to be appreciated.
"The effort, the support, and the funding that the members of the BCC commit to on our behalf is incredible," said Gen VanHerck. "There are few organizations out there that support any installation the way that our BCC does us and we all need to be grateful for their continued support."