Tomorrow is Veterans Day and right now a group of civic leaders is working to make sure Sheppard Air Force Base knows how valuable it is to the Texoma community. With Defense budgets being slashed, this group wants to do all it can to keep Sheppard far from the chopping block.
The numbers on SAFB's impact speak for themselves. In the 2005 BRAC round - where the Military decides what assets stay or go at a base - Sheppard lost a medical training program. That added up to a 48 million dollar loss for Texoma in 2009. Civic leaders formed the Sheppard Military Affairs Committee to work to prevent any more losses.
The Committee says Sheppard's ties run deeper than you may think. "Without Sheppard and the number of people they employ, we wont have the businesses, the grocery stores and the restaurants we have now simply because we wouldn't have the population to demand those entities in our communities," said Kay Yeager, SMAC Chair.
Sheppard's presence in Texoma accounts for 20% of the economy. That 20% adds up to a $1B dollars a year for Texoma. $1B dollars that wouldn't be there if the Defense Department ever decided to close Sheppard. The Committee says that is a possibility, one they want to avoid.
There are several levels of membership at which a business can donate. The SMAC is a non profit, and all donations are tax deductible.