Despite Covid, NIBCC continues to unify
2020 was a challenging year for all nonprofits, but despite the challenges of virtual meetings, socially distanced events, and finding new ways to network, the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council was able to deliver key parts of its mission.
NIBCC hosted two Speaker Series luncheons in 2020. In February, Col. Mike D. Stohler joined us at the Parkview Mirro Center to share his experience and leadership approach as commander of the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne. In October, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr. delivered the keynote address virtually, while guests enjoyed the luncheon at Cerutti’s Diamond Room in Fort Wayne. Bunch is the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Paterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This included the ability for guest to join virtually with supporters viewing the event on-line.
Our main fundraiser for the year, Race for the Warrior, held its sixth annual event in August, proving to be a model for social distancing, meeting the State of Indiana and Allen County Health Department guidelines for COVID-19 compliance. The race raises money for NIBCC Programs including the Military Support Fund, a program that provides emergency financial grants to local military families experiencing financial difficulties. Funds assist with life necessities like rent, utilities, transportation for work, uncovered medical needs. In 2020, the MSF awarded $15,500 in grants. The 7th Annual Race for the Warrior is scheduled for July 24, 2021. Race registration is now open and sponsorships are available. Sign up at raceforthewarrior.org .
Also among NIBCC’s accomplishments in 2020 was adopting Veterans Connect 211 as an NIBCC program. The program works with the Indiana 211 database to connect vets with services that support and serve the veteran community.
To be part of America’s most engaged military community, join or renew your membership in the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council at nibcc.org.
Save the date for the next NIBCC speaker luncheon, scheduled for March 11. This event will be virtual. We’ll release more details once we have them. We have also scheduled an in-person luncheon Oct. 20 at the Mirro Center.
New Team Members
The Northeast Indiana Base Community Council welcomes three new team members. Nicole Keesling was appointed to the events chair position in July 2020, and Gary Dillman joined in January 2021 and will serve on the membership committee. James O’Connor joined the group in July 2020 as a board member.
As a child, Keesling knew firsthand the importance of the armed forces and the challenges to military families, as her father served at the ANG-122. Now as an adult, she works for the Office of the Allen County Recorder as a records controller, and holds a bachelor of science degree in political science from Indiana University.
Dillman is a vice president and senior wealth strategist for PNC Wealth Management in the Northern Indiana market. He is a retired officer of the United States Army Reserve and is also a member of PNC Bank’s Military Employee Business Resource Group. He earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne with concentrations in finance and economics. He is also a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and a Certified Exit Planning Advisor.
O’Connor is a partner with the law firm of Barrett McNagny and a registered civil mediator. He received his bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Emory University and his juris doctorate from Loyola University College of Law. He is admitted to practice before the Indiana state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana.
Also at its January 2021 meeting, Julie Nolan’s term as secretary expired, although she will remain as a board member. Anyone interested in the secretary position or any other role should contact Jim Garigen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grants for military entrepreneurs
The Fortitude Fund will move into Funding Phase 2 on February 25th with new funding levels and a special focus on veteran-owned businesses in Northeast Indiana. The three elements of Fortitude are Grit, Guts, and Heart - no one embodies those traits more than our service women and men. Entrepreneurs can apply for a $500 micro-grant, with potential for an additional $2,500 grant. Grantees will also be matched with a mentor, join our community of over 400 entrepreneurs from the region, and have access to exclusive events. Come see how Community, Mentors, and Money are growing a culture of accessible entrepreneurship in Northeast Indiana at fortitudefund.com.
News from the office of U.S. Senator Mike Braun
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law on December 21, 2020. This act provides over $627 billion for national defense. Aside from ensuring our military has the resources needed for training, research, and general maintenance, these funds also provide a 3-percent pay raise for service-members. Additionally, this bill includes $34 billion in funding for defense health programs including research on traumatic brain injury, suicide, and many forms of cancer.
The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 was signed into law on January 5, 2021. This act provided many much needed reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including several provisions for COVID-19 relief such as the presumption of service connection for COVID-19 for service members who contract the coronavirus within 14 days of completion of duty in response to the pandemic; protection of VA education benefits if the veteran’s schooling was interrupted due to COVID-19; and additional assistance for homeless veterans. This bill also included language to ensure that VA facilities with pharmacies or law enforcement locations have opioid return drop boxes readily available.
Membership renewals are now due
Annual membership dues for the NIBCC are up for renewal on January 1 every year. These monies allow our nonprofit organization to continue its mission to be America's most engaged military community.
Since 2011, the NIBCC has served as a catalyst in unifying the military, civilian and business communities of the greater Fort Wayne region through awareness, collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and leadership. Efforts include:
—221st OD CO – Army Reserve
NIBCC is a 100-percent volunteer organization, offering members the opportunity to participate in or attend the myriad events throughout the year.
Without a paid staff, every dollar raised through memberships, donations, sponsorships and event income goes directly toward continuing NIBCC programs. If you would like to join, renew your membership, or donate to the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, please visit nibcc.org.
Thanks so much to Gen. Arnold Bunch from Wright-Patterson AFB for being our guest speaker, even if he was remote. Today's event was a joint effort of the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association, Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Huge shoutout to Ceruti's Catering Inc for taking good care of us. Here are some photos
Col. Doug Schwartz (Air Force, retired) introduces guest speaker Gen. Arnold Bunch at the NIDIA/NIBCC/Regional Partnership luncheon Oct. 21 at Ceruti's Diamond Room.
Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. speaks via teleconference during the Oct. 21 luncheon at Ceruti's Diamond Room in Fort Wayne. The event was a joint effort of the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association, Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
Eric Webster of L3Harris Corp. asks a question of Gen. Bunch during the luncheon.
Brian Evans of Invets talks with Patrick Dooley, past president of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council after the luncheon.
The entre for lunch was almond crusted chicken with green beans and potatoes. Catering by Ceruti's.
Veterans Connect 211 needs updated database
With Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11, now is a good time to review and update your organization’s information in the 211 database.
Be it health care support, financial assistance and counseling, legal assistance, or educational support, Veterans Connect 211 puts service members and their families in touch with agencies that can help. The program can even provide resources to help veterans and their families relocate to a new city, find housing, cope with the stress and logistics of a deployment, or transition back into civilian life.
If your business or agency provides services to U.S. military veterans, you need them to have the most current information about you. That is why Veterans Connect 211 is asking community organizations and veteran assistance groups to review and update their information in the 211 database.
Updating your information is fast and easy, and ensures people in our region can find you.
To access the main IN211 database, go to https://in211.communityos.org/resource-database-management and select “update your information.” Then follow the instructions in the Service Provider Search. Please make sure the database has your organization’s correct information, contacts, services, addresses and hours of operation.
To update your information by phone, call the IN211 resource team at (888) 211-2401 (press 2, then dial extension 200).
Phone operators are available 24/7 to provide access to resources available to community members in northeast Indiana.
Also, Veterans Connect 211 will be running radio and TV ads in November, promoting the 211 phone line and database. Anyone wishing to donate to the marketing fund can send an email to email@example.com.
For more information about Veterans Connect 211, visit veteransconnect211.com. For immediate access to veteran resources call or text 211.
Lt. Williams, squadron leader for the 293rd, shows off his Popeye muscles while working at the food bank.
NIBCC and Associated Churches help USO buy refreshments for the troops
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on local food banks. At a time when demand is high due to the economic crisis, staffing needs have increased due to procedural changes. Families used to pick out their own food off the shelves, but to minimize contact, food banks are now assembling boxes of food in advance, which is more labor-intensive.
To help out during this difficult time, the Indiana Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment has deployed several service members to Community Harvest Food Bank through Dec. 31. Troops are fed breakfast and dinner at the armory, and are given MRE’s (meals ready to eat) for lunch. But to help get them through the day, USO Indiana decided to send snacks and energy drinks to the soldiers.
Starting in August, the 1/293 was supplying 30 service personnel to help at the food bank on a daily basis. This triggered a response by the USO, which was fully supported by the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, as well as Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County. The number of helpers was rolled back to 7 at the end of September, as many of the participants were deployed for other needs around the state.
To supply provisions through October, November and December, the NIBCC and Associated Churches collectively donated $525 to cover the costs of refreshments for the troops.
“We can’t thank the USO enough for what they’ve done for the National Guard, and also for us as a food bank,” said Carmen Cumberland, Community Harvest Executive President. “They provided food to fuel the soldiers, who then worked to provide food to families in need. A special thank you to Sarah and Carl Huber of the USO for working alongside us to meet the needs of the soldiers, the community and everyone who has been affected by this pandemic and economic fallout.”
COVID and Rain Don’t Stop Race For The Warrior
Postponed twice due to COVID-19 and facing a downpour of rain, the 6th Annual Race for the Warrior continued mission by welcoming hearty runners to FWA’s runway Aug. 1.
“Runners, volunteers and sponsors kept their promise to the military community and raised funds in spite of the pandemic,” said NIBCC then-President Patrick Dooley. The event raised more than $32,000 to assist military families in Northeast Indiana.
Race for the Warrior is a 5k/10k race/walk/ruck/roll that takes place on the runway of the Fort Wayne International Airport. This year’s event raised $32,280.68, with proceeds benefiting the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council's Military Support Fund and other year-round programs for members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and military families. This fund provides one-time grants to local military members for emergency needs, allowing the service member to focus on the mission of serving our country and communities.
This year’s event served as an example for how to handle a socially distanced race in the midst of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan to safely open Indiana’s economy while protecting Hoosier health during the pandemic. Runners were socially distanced at the starting line, groups were separated into five heats and participants were required to wear face coverings when not racing, eating or drinking. Also, instead of having one large tent with all the food, drinks, and entertainment, organizers had each activity in a separate booth to accommodate social distancing needs.
A total of 415 registrants signed up for the race, with 256 participating — with 25 runners enrolling the day of the event and six people choosing to participate in the virtual run option instead of racing with the group.
The winner of the 5k race was Michael Cheezan of Wauseon, Ohio, with a clocked time of 15:57.5. The fastest woman was Hidi Gaff of Fort Wayne, who came in 8th overall with a time of 19:19.9.
In the 10k race, Fg Garcia of Goshen, came in first at 35:07.1. The fastest woman in that race was Lisa Roe of Angola who ranked 5th overall with a time of 44:19.7.
There were 10 paralympians from the US Men's and Women's National Goalball Team. First place went to Elizabeth Daugherty of Tucson with a time of 1:04:38.
The event was co-chaired by CPT Eric Flores (Army, Ret.) and SGT Jim Garigen (Army, Medically Ret.). After this year’s race, Garigen stepped down and will be replaced by MSgt Joe Lewis (Indiana Air National Guard/previously Marine Corps), who served as logistics chair this year.
The 7th Annual Race for the Warrior is scheduled for July 24, 2021 at 9 a.m. at the Fort Wayne International Airport.
Gen. Bunch headlines October speaker luncheon
Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., will deliver the keynote address at the next quarterly speaker luncheon, scheduled for Oct. 21 at Ceruti's Diamond Room. Gen. Bunch is the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
He is responsible for installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services and sustainment of virtually every major Air Force weapon system. The command employs approximately 80,000 people and manages $60 billion of budget authority annually.
He was commissioned in 1984 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and completed undergraduate pilot training in 1985. He completed operational assignments as an instructor, evaluator and aircraft commander for the B-52 Stratofortress. Following graduation from the Air Force Test Pilot School, Bunch conducted developmental testing in the B-2 Spirit and B-52 and served as an instructor in each. Additionally, he has commanded at the squadron, group, wing, and center levels. Prior to his current assignment, he was the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
Ceruti's Diamond Ballroom is located at 6601 Innovation Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818. Doors open from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $18.50 and available through Eventbrite.
HUBER NAMED NEW NIBCC PRESIDENT
After a regional search for the right leader to take over the reins of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, the board of directors named longtime board member Carl Huber as its president. Huber was sworn in at the group’s meeting Sept. 9. His term will run through March 2022. He has served on the board since 2014.
Huber replaces outgoing president Patrick Dooley who will remain on the board as immediate past president.
“Carl brings a wealth of business and nonprofit experience to his role as president,” Dooley said. “His years of service as an NIBCC board member, combined with his work with the USO, will serve our organization as we continue to bridge the civilian and business community with our military community.”
Huber worked for 32 years at WaterFurnace International and recently retired as vice president of quality and sustainability. He now works part time in that same capacity for WaterFurnace. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa. He is a board member of Northeast Indiana Honor Flight and former president and CEO of USO Indiana. He currently serves on the USO Advisory Board. He was honored this past year with the American Society of Heating Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers’ Distinguished Public Service Award for his work with these organizations.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to be elected president of the NIBCC,” Huber said. “The NIBCC has special meaning to me as one of the most respected nonprofits in Indiana. It has a very passionate and dedicated board of directors that wants to support active-duty military personnel. I hope to continue that tradition to expand the outreach and synergy within the region.”
Also during the meeting, the board expanded its executive committee and elected board member Jim Garigen to serve as member-at-large. Garigen served as the co-chair for the organization’s Race for the Warrior fundraiser for the past four years and founded Invisible Vets, an organization that serves to reduce veteran homelessness.
Since 2011, the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council has served as a catalyst in unifying the military, civilian and business communities of the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana. Its mission is to create the most engaged military region in the United States through awareness, collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and leadership. That mission is accomplished by connecting people to programs, building a network of support for service members and their families.
For more information on the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, visit nibcc.org.