Keesler strengthens ties with Community Partnership Program

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Keesler leaders hosted an Air Force Community Partnership program meeting here, July 27. 

The program is part of a larger Air Force Public-Public, Public-Private initiative to encourage installations and local communities to combine or improve resources or operating processes. It aims to formalize methods and enable opportunities that extend beyond the base. Keesler is one of 62 installations using the AFCP program to team up with the local community leaders.

"Biloxi and Keesler Air Force Base already have a partnership like I’ve never seen before," said Col. Debra Lovette, 81st Training Wing Commander. “The Community Partnership program is a great opportunity to capitalize on resources in the community and for the community to benefit from the base.”

The program facilitates ideas and discussions while local experts and leaders find win-win partnerships. Examples of successful partnerships across the Air Force range between sharing equipment and training regarding civil engineering, law enforcement, emergency response, and education. Partnerships are unique to every installation and community.

 “We have strong partnerships with the local community. From education, training, medical, and first responders, Keesler and the Gulf Coast Community have always been there to support each other,” said Dr. Wayne Clark, 81st Mission Support Group Deputy Director. “The Air Force Community Partnership program simply helps formalizes our partnership, so to speak.  This workshop is designed to generate even more ways we can help and support one another.”

During the meeting, the teams focused on Infrastructure and Facilities, Education and Medical, Public Safety, and Quality of Life.  The Executive Committee, consisting of leaders from the community and the base, was established. 

 “Overall, the meeting went very well,” Dr. Clark stated. “The Ideas Workshop gave each partner an opportunity to discuss his or her organization’s existing partnerships, current opportunities or challenges, and discuss the types of resources we might be able to share.”

Since October 2012, the Air Force’s AFCP program has generated more than 1,000 initiatives and 250 agreements that generated $32 million in Air Force benefits and $24 million in community benefits.

During the next meeting on Aug. 31, teams will be able to further develop and refine their ideas, and then present them to the Executive Council. Several more meetings will be schedule throughout the year to help the base and community leaders brainstorm and nurture ideas.