SWANTON, OH, UNITED STATES
Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Hughes
The 180th Fighter Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, signed two community partnership agreements on March 22 as part of the Air Force Community Partnership program, creating mutually beneficial relationships between the 180FW and our local communities.
The two agreements included the Higher Degree Attainment Initiative with five local-area universities, and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Boy Scouts of America’s Erie Shores Council.
The Higher Degree Attainment Initiative provides additional education opportunities for 180FW Airmen while providing participating colleges with recruitment opportunities. The universities signing agreements include Bowling Green State University, the University of Toledo, Owens Community College, Lourdes University and Tiffin University.
“These partnerships are critical because we need to work together at shaping our community now and into the future,” said Peter Holbrook, provost for Tiffin University.
Holbrook said it’s important for the universities to provide educational resources to the 180FW Airmen to allow them to achieve more in their military and civilian careers, which contributes to economic growth for the community by providing a workforce with skills in high-demand jobs.
“The 180th Fighter Wing considers education to be a critical part of the professional development of our Airmen,” said Col. Scott Reed, vice wing commander of the 180FW. “We recognize the skillsets and knowledge our Airmen gain from higher education directly translate to a more efficient, more capable mission ready force. Our Airmen never stop learning, and never stop reaching for excellence. Higher education is an integral part of that journey, and we are humbled and grateful to have such incredible support from local colleges and universities as highlighted by this partnership agreement.”
The Memorandum of Understanding with the Erie Shores Council provides a diverse leadership model to local Boy Scouts through exposure to 180FW Airmen and leaders, fostering a spirit of citizenship and civic responsibility while increasing event support, enhancing training opportunities and building stronger community relationships. Some of the events hosted by the 180FW include merit badge clinics, camporees and the annual Construction City event.
“The purpose of our partnership is to teach skills,” said Ed Frey, president of the Erie Shores Council. “Our scouts see the 180th as role models. You can’t teach character by talking about it. You teach character through folks who demonstrate it, and that’s what we get from the Airmen here. This is a huge opportunity for us.”
The AFCP program has inspired 61 installations nationwide to partner with their local communities across a wide range of initiatives, tapping into the intellectual capital and innovative spirit of Airmen and community leaders across the nation to develop creative ways to accomplish the U.S. Air Force mission and strengthen local communities. More than 1,000 initiatives and 250 agreements have generated $32 million in benefits for the Air Force and $24 million in benefits for participating communities, resulting in deeper and more meaningful relationships between the Air Force and the communities we serve.
“This was the culmination of a lot of effort from 180th Fighter Wing and community leaders,” said Brad Mcree, a lead facilitator for the AFCP program. “It solidifies a relationship between all the parties involved and marks an accomplishment of understanding and teamwork to share resources and help each other’s missions.”
While today’s event marked two major milestones for the 180FW, the leaders of the AFCP plan to continue developing relationships with the community to enhance cooperation and build mutually beneficial relationships.
The National Guard is fully integrated into over 3,000 communities across the country and embedded into the fabric of America, adding value beyond the budget ledger by investing in the safety and quality of life of our communities.
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