On Thursday, the United States celebrated the 67th anniversary of the Air Force. To mark 67 years of air power, airmen on base listened to some music, grilled hot dogs and enjoyed a cake.
"I love it the opportunity to actually get out here and show my respect and pride in the Air Force and celebrate it's birthday. I couldn't be prouder," said Eric Cordroch, Staff Sergeant at Sheppard Air Force Base. "Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be in the Air Force. So, I was excited about celebrating the Air Force and this is actually a combo for me. My mother was born in 1947, same as the Air Force and she's the same age and today is not only the Air Force's birthday, it's my birthday."
While the base took today to celebrate the Air Force, one city official told Newschannel 6, we should be thanking the base for its continued support.
"If you thought of it as a company, if you had a company out there that can generate that big of an economic impact," said Henry Florsheim, President & CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce & Industry. "Most cities around the country would give anything to have that and we've got that."
Florsheim said the base is a huge economic force. He said the base employees close to 15,000 people and over the years has had as high as a billion dollars in economic impact.
"It's the single largest economic driver of this community because of how many people are here an how much money is spent, not just at the base but around town because they're here," said Florsheim. "It's something we should be holding up as a bright shining star of Wichita Falls every single day."
Sheppard's economic impact region consists of Wichita, Wilbarger, Clay, Montague, Baylor, Archer, Throckmorton, Young, and Jack Counties.
In fall 2013, Sheppard Air Force Base had just over $720,000,000 in economic impact and $92,000,000 of that money went to jobs.