Greater Columbia Region awarded as 2019 Great American Defense Community


The Columbia Chamber has announced the recognition of the Greater Columbia Region as one of five communities named as a 2019 Great American Defense Community.

“Receiving the designation as a Great American Defense Community is a fitting tribute to the many business and community partners who work diligently to embrace the military men and women serving in the greater Columbia area,” said Carl Blackstone, president and CEO, Columbia Chamber. “The large military presence in our community, namely Fort Jackson the largest initial training base in the US Army, the SC National Guard and McEntire JNGB, provide unique opportunities for organizations and individuals to offer support to our service members, their families and the veterans who live and serve in our community.”

The Chamber nominated the Greater Columbia Region on the basis of the region’s partnerships and activities built around to strengthen the community’s appreciation of the military and its family members.

Choosing among the communities nationwide, the Great American Defense Communities program aims to acknowledge the effort that communities and regions in the country bring to military families and service members.

The Columbia Chamber’s Military Outreach Group (MOG), Fort Jackson Spousal Employment Program, WIS-TV’s Year of the Veteran Series, the University of South Carolina Veterans Outreach program, and Fort Jackson Education Student Ambassador Program in conjunction with Richland School District Two support the Greater Columbia Region and helped the region earn the award.

“We are very excited and humbled that the Columbia Region has received this national recognition,” said Dan Beatty, chairman of the Columbia Chamber Military Outreach Group and SC Military Base Task Force board member. “The GADC Award is the gold standard by which a community is acknowledged for its superb relationship with military partners.”

“Defined by a mission of force and family, readiness and resilience, America’s defense communities are the foundation of our military’s strength,” said Bill Parry, ADC president. “The communities we recognize through the Great American Defense Communities program represent the best examples of what communities can do to create great places for our military families to live and work. We congratulate the Columbia-Greater Midlands region and look forward to sharing your story with the nation.”

On May 22, Columbia Chamber will hold a celebration breakfast at the Brookland Conference Center at 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

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