The Air Power’s Greatest Saved Secret | Editorial


All through my thirty years of navy service, Arnold Air Base was well-known. Not simply due to the wealthy historical past of Basic Henry “Hap” Arnold (Father of the Air Power), or the unimaginable innovative work completed within the protection of our nation, or as a result of the duvet artwork Dustin Lynch’s album known as “Tullahoma”, and even Stunning Lakes, Good Looking and Fishing… no, it was well-known for the folks, a compassionate group. From hometown parades, Veterans Day packages, Memorial Day and Patriot’s Day commemoration occasions, to highschool navy appreciation occasions and July 4th fireworks celebrations, the locals of Tullahoma combine navy personnel, veterans and their households into the material of this group. And but, there may be a lot extra to it.

2020 offered unimaginable challenges… and our small city has come collectively to exceed expectations. Not solely have we taken care of our residents, veterans and an important protection mission, our group is dedicated to “leaving nobody behind” through the pandemic.

If a baby wanted to be fed, our faculty system labored onerous to alleviate meals insecurity for all kids (ages 0-18) in our metropolis. The Tullahoma Metropolis Colleges Diet Division served over 182,000 meals via their Meals Truck and 7 faculty queues twice every week from March via July. Per week of meals (breakfast and lunch) was served to virtually 500 college students solely through the Meals Truck for a further 5 months (July-December). Many different church buildings and group organizations have opened pantries, distributed meals baskets and served baggage of non-perishable meals (4 meals / 4 snacks) to greater than 100 households in want every week and greater than 120 households have acquired containers of meals for the vacations (Thanksgiving and Christmas).

When our healthcare staff wanted private protecting gear to check for COVID-19, Arnold AFB’s essential provider, NAS, donated 2,000 masks to county well being clinics. Native companies have modified their meeting traces – Tennessee Attire has made greater than 100,000 masks for the navy and TE Connectivity has made face shields for native medical personnel. The Jack Daniels and George Dickel Distilleries have helped defend folks by producing hand sanitizer. Many caring native folks and veterans have made 1000’s of masks for the police division, hospital, nursing houses, and college diet employees. Companies have turned to take-out, and church buildings have made their companies accessible on the Web.

Amid COVID testing, a Tennessee Military Nationwide Guard “strike group” assisted our well being clinic and native residents offered them with meals and snacks in addition to hearth departments and native police. Troopers from our native guard models are nonetheless underneath COVID assist orders and a few had been dispatched to Washington DC in January.

Because of the foresight of our metropolis leaders, distant staff had entry to high quality video and excessive pace web when wanted. Tullahoma is a gig metropolis… with Fiber To The Premise (FTTP). Our downtown space has free WIFI as do many native companies. And thanks very a lot for the parks and the greenway. Nature and expertise have helped to work miracles each day.

Uniquely, over 25 years in the past our group got here collectively to construct the Arms-On-Science Heart. He now serves because the USAF STEM coordinator for Arnold Air Base. So when the 15,000-foot facility with over 100 hands-on science reveals needed to shut through the pandemic, with grants from the USAF and native donations, the HOSC become a digital classroom, a produced academic movies, expanded the lending library, dispersed tons of of free on-the-go science kits for youngsters, and accomplished two new initiatives; a brand new outside Sound Backyard and a brand new “Ladies in Science” exhibition. For a group of lower than 20,000, maintain a science museum afloat, serving 30,000 folks and college students in over 11 counties with high-quality STEM packages and nationwide rocket, robotics, engineering and math competitions , is a significant achievement.

Our seven faculties have carried out digital and in-person schooling and have stored college students, mother and father, employees, lecturers and different stakeholders knowledgeable and updated with the numerous modifications associated to COVID-19 via the web sites of the varsity, media, social networks. media and cellphone / electronic mail alert system. Colleges in Tullahoma offered persevering with schooling, a secure area, and social and emotional assist to our 3,600 college students. Greater than 1.6 billion college students in additional than 190 nations are susceptible to vital studying loss, inflicting an damage that “may final a lifetime,” in response to McKinsey and Co. Though there have been disruptions , as we realized extra concerning the virus, the assets and spirit of our group have helped our college students thrive.

Motlow State Neighborhood Faculty (MSCC) instantly set to work serving to our small companies develop web sites and social media via their Motlow Educated Small Enterprise Accelerator initiatives. Tullahoma Area Chamber of Commerce stored companies up to date on CARES regulation provisions and assets, organized new enterprise ribbon slicing, digital room cafes, inspired everybody to “store regionally And coordinated the annual Candyland-themed Christmas Parade. Sponsors and repair organizations made the occasion an enormous success.

The impression of Arnold’s Neighborhood Council can’t be overstated. Because the CARES Act doesn’t present ample funding for the Arnold AFB contractor workforce (many staff on depart with out pay), the ACC Legislative Committee alerted Congress officers to the necessity funding. In consequence, Tennessee congressional leaders despatched a joint letter to the Secretary of the Air Power and funds had been opened for compensation.

Companions for Therapeutic (a major medical clinic for energetic, disabled or transitioning uninsured residents) continued to offer medical companies and acquired a grant to assist folks with psychological sickness. The Tullahoma Utilities Authority and TVA launched $ 40,000 for utility payments for needy households, and group members generously donated meals, coats and donations to charities. Loew donated constructing supplies for an outside sleeping space on the hospital, Builder’s Provide donated wooden for the brand new outside patio scene on the South Jackson Civic Heart, and native artisans made a brand new signal, helped to construct a brand new toilet and sensory room for the native Horse Play therapeutic using heart.

The necessity to encourage and nurture creativity was paramount this yr. The South Jackson Civic Heart has confirmed that “the present should go on” with an unimaginable vary of performances and facility upgrades in 2020. The Tullahoma Tremendous Artwork Heart had artwork courses for all ages. Sure, COVID-19 has induced just a few cancellations however these two organizations can nonetheless fill the schedule with laughter, expertise and enjoyable.

We commemorated the a centesimal anniversary of the passage of the nineteenth Modification, guaranteeing and defending ladies’s constitutional proper to vote and the Tullahoma Metropolis Police Division helped organizers combat racism and civil liberties with the march “We’ll breathe” in June. Shortly after, a brand new group for range and inclusion was shaped because of the mayor’s job drive.

The Veterans Day program, November 11, 2020, hosted the inaugural first veterans tribute prepare and faculties parade. With the junior highschool Marine Corps ROTC college students directing site visitors for an orderly 8:30 a.m. begin, Tullahoma Police and Fireplace Departments, with lights and sirens, led the tribute prepare of vehicles full of ‘Veterans. Alongside the Seven Mile Freeway, letter containers had been adorned, enterprise staff and residents alike stood exterior to pay homage to their passage. Unable to carry the standard Veterans Day assemblies and lunches or the Veterans Memorial Day program on the Civic Heart, lecturers in our public faculties synchronized their watches and college students gathered exterior on the time organized with placards, posters and letters made in school to honor the veterans in our group.

On the finish of the two.5-hour tribute prepare and Veterans Parade, a number of hundred gathered at 11:00 a.m. on the Veteran Memorial and Historical past Park to as soon as once more hear Lloyd Smith sing a patriotic medley as solely he can. A cadet from MCJROTC wore WWI Military costume uniform and a 4 member shade guard was available to current the colours. After remarks, speeches and poems, energetic responsibility navy, Nationwide Guard, veterans and their households crossed the road on their approach to the American Legion submit for meals and fellowship.

All year long, “Buddy Checks” had been despatched to native veterans and the Mayor’s Youth Council contacted 1,000 seniors. The DAR had citizenship courses earlier than COVID-19 and native VFW social actions had been up and operating inside a really brief time. The Yoga Robust Basis nearly ran a program 3 times every week, and the Shady Grove Backyard Membership devoted extra veterans memorial bricks to the historic park on Remembrance Day, with the proceeds going to scholarships for college students.

In the meantime, for almost a yr now, our important staff, healthcare professionals and employees, grocery retailer clerks, retailer attendants, utilities, firefighters, police, regulation enforcement personnel. metropolis, provide chain personnel and others remained calm and continued… to assist others. The record goes on.

As you’ll be able to see, we care for our personal, whether or not it’s a resident of a retirement dwelling, a trainer, a welder, a quick meals waiter or a household. who suffers from the lack of a liked one. No metropolis is ideal, however whether or not you increase your voice or simply attain out, there are assets accessible for everybody. Tullahoma’s resilience comes from the continued public-private-not-for-profit partnerships, financial range and compassion, onerous work ethic and relentless ingenuity of our residents.

So my hat is off to this little city. I could not be prouder and I not suppose we needs to be “the air drive’s finest stored secret”. The world must know that there’s a small city in Tennessee totally dedicated to investing in our youngsters, assembly the wants of our residents, securing the liberty of our nation, and serving to our companies succeed. It is referred to as… Tullahoma.


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