Larry Cantrell, left, talks with Columbus Air Force Base's Col. Douglas Gosney after the Tuesday meeting of Rotary Club at Lion Hills Center. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
November 2, 2017 10:11:00 AM
Throughout his Air Force career, Col. Doug Gosney has lived in about a dozen different communities -- but he says none have been as welcoming to him as Columbus and Lowndes County residents are to airmen at the Columbus Air Force Base.
"You open up your homes and your churches and your schools to our families, and it means, as a father ... it means a lot to me," Gosney told the members of Columbus Rotary at their weekly lunch meeting at Lion Hills Tuesday.
Gosney, CAFB commander, attended the meeting to update Rotarians on the goings-on at the base, which in September celebrated its 75th anniversary. Primarily, he emphasized the importance of the relationship between the base and the local community.
In fiscal year 2016, Gosney said, the base contributed $260.8 million in total economic impact to the Columbus community -- and that doesn't include the impact of numerous Air Force retirees who have chosen to make Columbus home, he added.
The $260.8 million includes nearly $145 million in payroll and another $83.5 million in annual expenditures, including contracts for everything from construction to aircraft maintenance.
The total number also includes $32.7 million in indirect jobs, Gosney said.
"These include teachers, waitresses, medical personnel -- people that benefit from the base's presence and the increased population which brings in extra work," Gosney said.
Gosney also updated Rotarians on the CAFB's partnerships with local organizations like the Columbus Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and the Golden Triangle Development LINK. He also talked about upcoming events -- the biggest of which is the "Wings Over Columbus" air show, which will feature the Thunderbirds on April 21-22.
"It'll be four years since Columbus has last had an air show," Gosney said. "... Any time you have the Thunderbirds at an air show, that means a lot of really good acts are going to follow as well.
"They want to follow the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds because they know that's where the crowds are going to be," he added.
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