The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 19, 2014

City of Enid earns 2014 Altus Trophy for support of Vance AFB

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s partnership with Vance Air Force Base dates back more than 70 years.

Today, it’s probably a stronger relationship than it’s ever been, and those ties were honored recently when the city of Enid received the 2014 Altus Trophy, also known as the Air Education and Training Command Community Support Award.

The Altus Trophy was created in 2011 by the Altus Chamber of Commerce and then-AETC commander Gen. Edward A. Rice.

It is presented to the community judged to have teamed best and most effectively with its AETC base.

It’s not hard to see why Enid received the award.

A number of items were highlighted in Enid’s nomination package, including the ongoing project to lengthen the main runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport so it can accommodate T-38s from Vance, the joint-use hangar at Woodring that was completed in 2012, and the soon-to-open new control tower at Vance, all the result of local, state and federal partnerships.

Other items cited were Camp Tomahawk, a joint Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce-Vance effort to provide a camp experience for children whose families might not otherwise be able to afford to send them to camp; Enlisted Appreciation Night, a night of food, fun and prizes for Vance enlisted personnel, an annual event for 47 years; the adopt-a-class program that pairs local civic leaders with Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training classes, providing student pilots with a personal relationship with members of the Enid community; and the Vance scholarship program that has paid for more than $1 million in textbooks and tuition for Vance airmen since its inception, $46,000 in 2013 alone.

Enid has embraced the base since it opened in 1941.

Together, Enid and Vance have weathered storms, literally and figuratively. We’ve survived the base being closed after World War II, then re-opened.

We survived base-closure rounds since then, and through it all the bonds forged back in 1941 have grown stronger and stronger.

The Altus Trophy is truly deserved by everyone who has put together the efforts to strengthen the ties between the city and the base.

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