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Tyndall awarded best of 2019 by Greater American Defense Council

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, talks with reporters after the celebration of Bay County, Fla., being named a Great American Defense Community, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, talks with reporters after the celebration of Bay County, Fla., being named a Great American Defense Community, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Ken Ekman, First Air Force and Air Forces Northern Command vice commander, talks with Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, following the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Ken Ekman, First Air Force and Air Forces Northern Command vice commander, talks with Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, following the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jay Sego, Naval Support Activity Panama City, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jay Sego, Naval Support Activity Panama City, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

Distinguished visitors are greeted by base leadership before the start of the Great American Defense Community celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. As part of the celebration the water tower at Tyndall was painted to reflect the communities status as a Great American Defense Community. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

Distinguished visitors are greeted by base leadership before the start of the Great American Defense Community celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. As part of the celebration the water tower at Tyndall was painted to reflect the communities status as a Great American Defense Community. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Javier Alvarez)

Tyndall Air Force Base’s water tower now wears a logo that signifies being awarded the 2019 Great American Defense Community Award during a ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Tyndall Air Force Base’s water tower now wears a logo that signifies being awarded the 2019 Great American Defense Community Award during a ceremony at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Members of the Great American Defense Community and Tyndall Air Force Base pose for a group photo during the unveiling of a logo on the installation’s water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Members of the Great American Defense Community and Tyndall Air Force Base pose for a group photo during the unveiling of a logo on the installation’s water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Tom Neubauer, Bay Defense Alliance president, talks about the relationship between the American Defense Community and the military community during an unveiling at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Tom Neubauer, Bay Defense Alliance president, talks about the relationship between the American Defense Community and the military community during an unveiling at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jay Sego, Naval Support Activity-Panama City commanding officer, gives his remarks about the importance of community support during an unveiling of a logo on the base water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jay Sego, Naval Support Activity-Panama City commanding officer, gives his remarks about the importance of community support during an unveiling of a logo on the base water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives his thanks to the local community and members of the Great American Defense Community during an unveiling of a logo on the base water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)
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U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives his thanks to the local community and members of the Great American Defense Community during an unveiling of a logo on the base water tower at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)
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U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the Great American Defense Communities celebration at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Bay County, is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. The GADC program leaders work to recognize military communities and regions that help improve the quality of life for veterans, service members and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

Members of the Great American Defense Community render honors during the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of an award ceremony with the Great American Defense Community at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)
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Members of the Great American Defense Community render honors during the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of an award ceremony with the Great American Defense Community at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 13, 2019. Tyndall was awarded the Great American Defense Community Award for 2019 with a commemorative logo painted on the water tower to represent Bay County’s accomplishments. Bay County is one of five communities across the country to be named a Great American Defense Community in 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexandre Montes)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- There has been a change of scenery that could turn some heads as drivers and pedestrians walk past Tyndall Air Force Base, thanks to the Bay County Greater American Defense Council as of February 13, 2019. 

The Bay County GADC 2019 Award was presented to team Tyndall accompanied with two logos painted on the base water tower. The unveiling was attended by local military and community members.

“We won a special award in the local community recently, from the 2019 class of the GADC,” said Col. Brian Laidlaw, 325th Fighter Wing commander. “If you ask me, this award has been 78 years in the making because that’s how long ago we broke ground on this base.” 

Tyndall AFB has been a community partner since 1941. This year the base is undergoing one of its biggest feats of rebuilding after sustaining catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Michael. 

The GADC recognizes military communities that work to improve the qualities of life for service members, their families, and veterans in the local community. It is a competitive process that considers a few key points. 

“They consider building, integration efforts, support, and collaboration,” Laidlaw said.” They consider employment and educational opportunities and family support.”

To the extent of integration efforts, in 2017 the Secretary of the Air Force announced that Tyndall AFB would be a preferred alternative to receive MQ-9 Reapers, a change to the community that would benefit in building a supportive community of the new Air Force asset. 

An example that Laidlaw mentioned was when a chamber of commerce member asked an MQ-9 pilot if having an alternative school schedule on base would help benefit his family. A strong statement of how the base and community integrate and collaborate. 

“That is a level of commitment that is hard to rival anywhere in the country and doesn’t happen by accident,” Laidlaw said. 

When Hurricane Michael devastated the installation the strength of character of both communities transpired once again to support and bring Tyndall back stronger. 

“The whole idea is to continue the trust and relationship between both communities,” said Mr. Tom Neubauer, GADC president. “They continue to send us amazing leaders from the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard. What really makes these communities great are the Airmen and sailors who are an important part of Bay County and call Bay County home.”

Neubauer was excited to see the logo on the water tower and continued to give gratitude for the support that has been given to the community. 

This will be a long road to recovery for the base and Bay County, but working together as a cohesive unit will continue to build those bonds by creating a positive atmosphere for families and military members in the future.