By ALICIA LEONARD
The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce along with Chelco recently hosted the quarterly First Friday Breakfast with the theme of military appreciation. The catered breakfast, packed with business and local area leaders, included an update from team Eglin by Col. Marc D. Piccolo and Lt. Col. George Trumba. Executive Director for Workforce Development Mary Lou Reed gave an update on activities during the second half of the program.
Trumba was the first panelist to speak, “We are so excited by the outreach this community does involving our military. You are all constantly reaching out and supporting your military and we so appreciate everything this community does for us and the support we receive from everyone. We are so proud to be a part of this community.” Trumba told the group that they were undergoing upgrades to the computer systems in site C-6 and would expand the range of the radar located there.
Piccolo gave an update to the crowd about current military projects, “Civic support is very important to us, our leaders have been out and have completed over 100 speaking engagements in the community. We have a national resource lab and that was recently used for Goodyear tire testing. Fisher House at Eglin is also of importance to us. We now have a place for wounded warriors to heal with their families and we are very proud of that.”
Testing ongoing at Eglin of an alternative jet fuel blend that could potentially save up to 400 million gallons of jet fuel was particularly interesting the crowd, “This hydro processed renewable jet fuel is made from a non-food plant and the potential is huge. Testing is ongoing and this is just a sneak peek under the tent on this one.” Piccolo later explained that Eglin often teams up with institutions of higher learning on future scientific endeavors such as new fuel technologies.
The Emerald Breeze project includes a 150 room hotel in Okaloosa that comes from an enhanced land lease agreement. As land lays idle under Eglin’s control, the Air Force base will be able to get return revenue on the idle property with a resort that will also have special discounts for military families.
Reed told the group, “we offered very special services to military families in helping them to transition into the local area, career advice and support. Through a partnership agreement with the military, we have been able to grant scholarships to 800 military spouses. We fully support our military and continue to look for ways to help our military and their families in any way possible. We honor, we support and we welcome the military families to our community.”