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Letter: Supporting NIMAC helps air base advocacy efforts

Supporting NIMAC helps air base advocacy efforts

It was 1995, and a small group of volunteers became organized to work as community advocates to advance the interests of our Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Over these 22 years, this group, known as the Niagara Military Affairs Council (NIMAC), has worked mostly behind the scenes to connect the base leadership with the community, elected officials at all levels and all parties, and within all levels of the United States Air Force.

In 2005, the national military structure was subjected to a Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRACC) and the Niagara base was marked for closing. NIMAC led the effort to bring the community together and the decision was reversed. Today, the 914th Air Refueling Wing and 107th Attack Wing both have new enduring missions that should put us in a great position for the future.

However, we would not be in this position if it were not for our constant and continual work. With an annual economic impact close to $200 million, our local community has seen close to $4 billion injected into our economy since NIMAC’s inception.

This year, NIMAC has lost over one-half of its annual funding for its annual budget of approximately $125,000. Municipal budget reductions and the loss of casino funds are cited. Fortunately, we have been able to receive other funding to take us through mid-2018. But beyond that it is my responsibility to tell you that we will be forced to cease much of what we do next year.

What are the chances that a group of volunteers without any large salaries or fancy offices having an impact of billions of dollars on our local economy? I don’t know what the future is for our air base but I do know this: as a community we take a chance if we do not continue to support it on a regular basis. If you want to help, join NIMAC and visit our website at www.nimac.org.

John A. Cooper, Sr.

Chairman, NIMAC

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