FOM – Paying it forward

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this week, we’ll also be remembering the sacrifices so many families and individuals have made throughout our history to ensure that our country remains free and independent. It’s also a good time to thank the local airmen of McConnell Air Force Base for fulfilling their current mission.

FOM donates Wichita River Festival buttons to airmen at McConnell AFB as one of their hospitality programs.

FOM donates Wichita River Festival buttons to airmen at McConnell AFB as one of their hospitality programs.

The Friends of McConnell (FOM) is a Chamber affiliate that strives to make sure the airmen at McConnell Air Force Base hear that message of appreciation year-round directly from the Wichita business community. Originally formed in the 1960s, the FOM is comprised of business leaders and individuals working to ensure that McConnell AFB is the most appealing assignment in the careers of the airmen and officers who serve there. They also provide meaningful social and economic linkages between senior military leaders and their civilian counterparts.

The FOM is involved in more than 30 events and programs a year that support McConnell airmen and their families. The group is recognized by past and current McConnell officers as being instrumental in the decision of many airmen to stay in Wichita once they retire. In the words of retired Colonel Cathy McClain, “The Friends of McConnell pay it forward.”

Chamber Board members like Claudio Ferraro of Via Christi believe the FOM is vital to forging strong bonds between the Base and the community. Ferraro recently said, “FOM has served as the catalyst directly linking Via Christi and McConnell AFB. Via Christi’s role in supporting McConnell would not be where it is had FOM not thrived under its longstanding visionary leadership.”

We salute the Friends of McConnell leadership and members for everything they do to support the mission of McConnell AFB and strengthen the ties between the airmen and our community. We invite you to learn more about the Friends of McConnell and their mission by visiting their Facebook page or the Chamber’s website.

Have a safe celebration.