08/29/05 — Good neighbors: A nurtured relationship can keep BRAC away

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Good neighbors: A nurtured relationship can keep BRAC away

Although most of the drama seems to be over, that doesn’t mean that Wayne County and North Carolina’s work is done as it relates to the Base Realignment and Closure commission.

Keeping Seymour Johnson Air Force Base safe from the commission’s ax took more than just a couple of weeks of lobbying in Washington, D.C. Communities that were unscathed by the BRAC votes had several qualities in common. First, they had a demonstrated record of support for the facilities within their borders. Second, they had a long-established plan for dealing with the concerns and needs that accompany playing host to a military base. In other words, they planned ahead for the challenges that would come and had a process in place to deal with the aftermath.

In Wayne County’s case, the credit for the hard work that for years has helped make the relationship between this community and Seymour Johnson AFB so beneficial to both should go to the various organizations that have worked so hard to address issues before they become problems and forged the way for the strong ties the base and the community have today.

And it didn’t hurt either to have a command at the base that was so determined to make Seymour Johnson a contributing neighbor in this community. Without that leadership, there would be no relationship to foster. Seymour Johnson is truly a base to be proud of, as are the hundreds of military personnel who serve there.

Without all that hard work, and the vision of many of the community’s leaders, there would have been a whole lot more reason to worry when the base closings and realignments were announced.

To make sure the structure remains in place, this community has to continue to plan, think, talk and otherwise encourage further the relationship that has grown so strong over the years. There will be new issues to address, and we have to be prepared to deal with them, together.

That is how we will continue to keep BRAC away.

Published in Editorials on August 29, 2005 11:14 AM