Photo (U.S. Air Force photo by Andrea Jenkins): U.S. Air Force Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander, addresses attendees during the quarterly Air Force Community Partnership meeting at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, May 12, 2022. Cook highlighted the benefits of Moody’s Fire Department partnering with the community. He explained how the relationship provides base firefighters the ability to effectively impact emergency response to community fires.
MOODY AFB – A community partnership program plans to enhance the relationship between Moody and the surrounding communities.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
This African proverb describes the symbiotic relationship between Moody and the surrounding community. The Air Force Community Partnership Program fosters that relationship and further seeks to find solutions and shared interests between Moody and the greater Valdosta and Lowndes County area.
“The AFCP program enhances the wonderful community relationship Moody enjoys with our surrounding communities,” said John Eunice, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron deputy commander. “The program provides avenues to look for mutually beneficial opportunities to support installation and community initiatives, with possibilities ranging from infrastructure to education to emergency response. AFCP or P4 looks for the art of the possible when it comes to partnerships with our surrounding communities.”
Also referred to as The Public-Public/ Public Private, or P4, the AFCP Program identifies potential partners in the surrounding communities and develops shared understanding of needs and resources.
Moody was one of the original 13 bases selected to participate in the AFCP program when it began nearly 10 years ago. The team at Moody is currently focused on supporting interests such as services like wastewater treatment, fire and emergency response and electrical resiliency.
According to Paige Dukes, Lowndes County manager, the recent renewal of the current Intergovernmental Service Agreement for wastewater services was increased from a five-year period to a ten-year contract.
In 2016, Moody and Lowndes County renewed their Water, Wastewater Treatment Plant Intergovernmental support agreement. Under the terms of the arrangement, Lowndes County operates Moody’s water and wastewater treatment plant. When the two parties signed the agreement, it represented the first time a base received approval for an IGSA with a municipality for a utility.
“This provision addresses confidence in performance for both the county and the base, demonstrating the P4 initiative is a strong win-win,” Dukes said. “The expectation for wastewater services for Moody continues to increase the quality of services system wide.”
Eunice also added how the wastewater partnership has enabled Moody to reduce annual operating cost for the function of Moody’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants.
He went on to explain how the relationship with Lowndes County led to discussions and a contract to connect Grassy Pond to the county’s sewer system, thereby eliminating the safety and environmental concerns of the septic system that was in place for years.
“The military and local governments are alike in their commitment to a mission and those that they serve,” said Dukes. “Our community is fortunate that Moody and Lowndes County make both a priority. The willingness of both parties to dedicate talent and resources to overcoming challenges is evident in the current agreement for automatic aid between Lowndes County Fire Rescue and the Moody Air Force Base Fire Department.”
The mutual aid arrangement between Lowndes County Fire Rescue and Moody Air Force Base Fire Department is another example of the benefits the AFCP program has facilitated.
During the most recent meeting, Col. Russ Cook, 23rd Wing commander, highlighted the benefits of Moody’s Fire Department partnering with the community. He explained how the relationship provides base firefighters the ability to effectively impact emergency response to community fires. Additionally, the emergency responses allow Airmen to gain ongoing training with Moody’s newest fire truck’s capabilities.
According to Dukes, because of an increase in residential development, the county had a need for greater response to fires and medical calls on the north end of Lowndes where Moody can dispatch quicker.
“Due to the willingness of base leadership and county administration to enrich the training and experience of Moody Firefighters, while providing an increase in fire/rescue services to the community, the Lowndes County 911 Center now dispatches both departments,” said Dukes. “We know Moody as Station 15 and could not be prouder to hear their apparatus respond.”
Fire isn’t the only emergency needing quick response. Potential electrical outages are also an important aspect to be considered by both community and Moody leaders. To enhance the effectiveness of Moody’s power supply, the P4 program is currently developing plans for a second electrical sub-station on base.
If the power were to go out, an additional sub-station would act as a layer of redundancy for Moody. Furthermore, in the event of a local natural disaster, a second sub-station would provide both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Municipal Association the ability to set up a relief site from Moody.
“In the event of a major electrical failure, we could maintain power and potentially help the community in their recovery efforts,” said Eunice about sharing resources for the betterment of all.
Ultimately, strengthening relationships between Moody and the Lowndes County area allows both sides to learn more about potential opportunities for shared interests. Each organization brings different perspectives and solutions to the Air Force Community Partnership program while also “looking for the art of possible.”