WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — For nearly eight decades, Sheppard Air Force Base remains the backbone of the Wichita Falls economy, despite that longevity, local officials do not take the facility for granted, and are always looking for ways to strengthen ties and cooperation.
One way they are able to accomplish this is with roundtable meetings to further strengthen the partnership between the military and community.
The Work Services Corporation held the third quarterly Military Roundtable where community and military leaders gather to discuss initiatives to promote economic growth as a team, and more specifically at this meeting, initiatives for the hiring of military veterans called “Hiring Our Heroes.”
“I think the benefits that are coming from this is that employment. To make this great nation the way it is, you’ve got to work. And I think this is what these organizations especially this one that’s coming out and we heard today, they wanna put the workforce back to working. And it benefits me,” Disabled American Veterans Commander Joel Jimenez said.
Sheppard Air Force Base is the largest economic driver in the area also providing the largest number of jobs, but equally important is the role the community plays in the supporting Sheppard, as well as supporting the families of service people and civilian employees who call Wichita Falls home, sometimes just for a few months, sometimes a lifetime.
“They’re relocating from sometimes all over the world. To be able to come to a community that supports them, that is gonna help them find a job, a career, that’s worth so much to a military family,” SAFB Director of Public Affairs George Woodward said.
Chamber of Commerce Business Intelligence and Military Liason Director, Adrene Wike, said in a literal sense, the roundtable is a way to get the community together to communicate with the military.
“I think what we walk away with is all the resources that are available and how willing this community is to do more. I think sometimes you just need a stepping stone to what that looks like. They’re so willing and able to do more, but they wanna know how we can do that. That’s what this round table helps with,” Chamber of Commerce Business Intelligence and Military Liaison Director Adrene Wike said.
Wike also said understanding what services military members and their spouses need and how to provide them, helps the community be a more welcoming place for those who may be far from home.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana and Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom were among the community members in attendance at the roundtable.