Whiteman BCC highlights local community: Columbia

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Whiteman has maintained a relationship with surrounding communities since it was the Sedalia Army Air Field in 1943, but over the past 20 years, the relationship between this base and local communities has improved. The Base Community Council, a group of more than 350 people representing 18 local communities, meets here once a month to reinforce this relationship.

"This council consists of representatives from the local area and is chartered to support Air Force Global Strike Command servicemembers from Whiteman," said Jesse Kellock, BCC president. "Working alongside the military is a wonderful opportunity for civilian BCC members to work toward mutual interests."

The Base Community Council objectives include: Identifying common interests of the civilian and military populations and supporting community efforts of mutual concern; getting full base- and community- leader participation to solve problems of mutual interest; increasing civilian understanding of the Air Force mission; giving continuity to the community relations program.

This diverse group of business, religious and educational professionals contributes to a large number of events and community planning. Each community is assigned a liaison squadron from Whiteman, and members of that unit participate in a wide range of events with their community partner.

Specific communities are featured each meeting, highlighting their outreach programs and concerns. The next BCC meeting is scheduled for Feb. 3 and will feature Columbia, Mo.

"Columbia was founded in 1820, a community based on higher education, health care and insurance." said Donald Laird, Columbia Chamber of Commerce president. "It is one of the fastest growing communities in the state in employment opportunities."

"Columbia is the fifth-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Mid-Missouri," said Lt. Col. Mike Pyburn, 110th BS Commander and unit liaison for Columbia. "As the home of the University of Missouri, it ranks as the thirteenth most highly educated municipality in the United States and is an education focal point for the state of Missouri with Stephens College and Columbia College also located within city limits."

Columbia and Whiteman offer each other vital resources, Columbia with its education and community support and Whiteman with its national defense assets.

"Whiteman plays a critical role in the defense structure of our nation," said Mr. Laird. "It is important that we have an awareness of what's happening at Whiteman and how it fits in the bigger picture. We are fortunate to have a facility as such so close to our community."

"The bonds forged through the Base Community Council have allowed community leaders from Columbia to interact with Whiteman AFB personnel and has been an a enabling force providing outstanding cross-talk and mutual insight into the base and community events which are so intertwined," Colonel Pyburn said. "The community support we receive from Columbia is nothing short of phenomenal - it is critical having someone like Mr. Don Laird fully engaged in supporting the B-2 and Whiteman missions."

The BCC meets the first Thursday of each month at noon at Mission's End unless otherwise specified due to holidays or special events such as guest speakers or evening socials. Those wanting to attend the next BCC may call the Public Affairs office at (660) 687-6121.