Valdosta Daily Times

May 31, 2014

Setting a community example

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Community is a word that has come to be regarded more as a place of residence rather than a sense of purpose.

If asked, most people would respond they live in a community, but the question should be, are they part of a community?

Four regional chambers of commerce apparently have come to recognize the philosophy that community is more than just where they live, but the interests they share.

That interest is Moody Air Force Base.

Gloria Mitchell is an Adel-Cook County Chamber of Commerce representative. Cindy Pullen is a Lakeland-Lanier County Chamber of Commerce representative. Michael Lee is a Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce representative. Nick Lacey is a Nashville-Berrien County Chamber of Commerce representative.

Each represents his or her immediate community but they also represent the region as members of the South Georgia Military Affairs Council. They realize that Moody is vital to the South Georgia community.

The Air Force base is a dynamic piston not only in South Georgia’s economic machinery but the region’s cultural engine.

Imagine if Moody vanished. Imagine gone the people who are integral parts of our schools, our churches, our businesses, our activities in the region. Imagine the military children missing from your children’s classrooms and friendships.

Imagine the military spouses missing from our work force. Imagine the airmen missing from so many aspects of not only our nation’s defense, but the texture of our community.

Then imagine the many retired military families who return to our community or make homes here because they enjoy the region but also because of the proximity of a base, the familiarity of a base, that touchstone of the military community they have known for decades. Imagine the leadership of these retirees and their families gone.

We become a different place to live without Moody. We have a different sense of community.

That’s what the South Georgia Military Affairs Council seeks to avoid. Its mission is to ensure stronger community support for Moody Air Force Base, to create a community spirit that can adapt to the needs of Moody, and the potential for the base’s changing missions in the coming years.

Yet, in addition to Moody, we can all learn from the example of this cohesion of seemingly different organizations. This group comprised of people with varying interests of different locations but one that has united for the greater good of the community.

We should consider the idea of community as synonymous with our idea of home — a setting of both place and purpose.