Chamber recognizes military community

Photo by Avan Clark

Photo by Avan Clark

ALBANY, Ga. -- Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany is a significant contributor to the economy of metro Albany and Southwest Georgia.

In light of that, community leaders took the opportunity to thank those at the military installation Wednesday for their service.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce held its military appreciation breakfast at the Doublegate Country Club Wednesday morning.

The program kicked off with words from Jimmy Wilson, the chamber's board chairman.

"Many of you in the audience have served in the military, and for your sacrifice, we are grateful," he said. "The relationship with the Marine base is something that is incredible."

The "Marines of the Quarter" were recognized at the breakfast. They received a certificate of appreciation as well as a check from the Albany Rotary Club. The honorees also received a free day for recreational activities from Emerge Albany.

"It's a huge honor to get to represent the base I work for," said Cpl. Nicki Nall, one of the award recipients. "I love Albany; it reminds me of home."

Cpl. Owen Kyler, Lance Cpl. Jason Womelsdorf and Sgt. Ryan Hadley were also recognized. This is the second consecutive time Womelsdorf has received the award.

"It's overwhelming to feel the support of the community and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce," Womelsdorf said. "The support of the community can't be described."

Hadely was not in attendance Wednesday.

Lisa Riddle, director of the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented an award to the Marine base at the breakfast for providing more than 100 volunteers to assist with the city's Mardi Gras festivities a few weeks ago.

"They helped us tremendously," she said.

Lt. Col. Donald Finn, director of operations and training at the base, addressed some of the issues currently facing the Corps.

"A challenge faced by the Marine Corps is limited resources," he said. "As things are ramping down, the budget is getting smaller and smaller."

He also shared some words on behalf of those at the base.

"On behalf of the Marine Corps, I can tell you we at the base are grateful for Albany," Finn said. "I don't want you to think we say that just to be nice; we mean it."

The sponsors for the breakfast were Artesian Contracting Company and LRA Constructors.

"We understand your job is a matter of life and death," said Glenn Singfield, co-owner of Artesian. "What you do for the warfighter is serious business. For that, the community should be grateful.

"This community is extremely blessed to have MCLB."

The base was commissioned in 1952 as Marine Corps Depot of Supplies. It has held its current name since 1978. The installation occupies 3,600 acres in Dougherty County. During Fiscal Year 2009, there were 4,700 military, civilian and contract employees -- and their combined military and civil service payroll exceeded $152 million.