Travis AFB, Wing Commander Take First Military Family Partnership Award
Partnership isn’t simply a word at Travis Air Force Base, it is a commitment by all parties and it starts with the outstanding leadership of Col. James Vechery, commander of the Northern California base’s 60th Air Mobility Wing. For forming a close relationship with Balfour Beatty Communities, the base’s housing privatization partner, Vechery and Travis were chosen by ADC as the winner of the association’s inaugural Military Family Partnership Award.
Military families living at Travis benefit from the strong partnership between base leaders and Balfour Beatty in a number of ways. To ensure the local school district receives adequate federal funding to accommodate military children, the Air Force housing management office, the school district and Balfour Beatty collaboratively prepare the impact aid report that goes to the U.S. Department of Education. Another priority for the partnership has been traffic safety. The Air Force and Balfour Beatty have designed new crosswalks, traffic signage and circulation improvements on the way to the elementary school on base.
Vechery and other senior base leaders have made maintaining open communications with the entire Air Force community a priority. Key leadership and other stakeholders, such as the Travis Unified School District, participate in frequent synchronization meetings. As a result, many problems that may have required intervention at higher levels of the Air Force have been resolved at the base level.
The close partnership between the Air Force and Balfour Beatty also has benefitted the greater community. Most notably, Team Travis assisted 2,600 distressed evacuating spouses and children of military members stationed in Japan in Operation Pacific Passage after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Similarly, Balfour Beatty Communities’ annual Valentine’s Day dinner for spouses of deployed personnel has become an enormously popular event that assures service members that their support team back home is caring for their families.
“We are very honored and proud to be the first recipient of the Association of Defense Communities’ Military Family Partnership award. This specific award is so special because military, family and partnership pretty well sum up what “Team Travis … Air Power” is all about,” Vechery said in reference to the response prompted when someone says “Team Travis” before a crowd of people. In short order, a thunderous “Air Power” is shouted by Travis personnel.
The winners will be recognized during the Defense Community Awards lunch at the ADC 2011 Annual Conference in Norfolk on Tuesday, July 19.