Local leader visits with AF Chief of Staff
By Chris Calkins, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 11, 2011
11 Feb. 2011 -- Ms. Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Space Coast Economic Development Commission, and a brand-new member of the Chief of Staff's Air Force Civic Leader Program, had her first meeting with Air Force senior leadership last week at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, located at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
The Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations staff provides dignity, honor and respect to the nation's fallen service members and care, service and support to their families.
The site of the visit was not lost on Ms. Weatherman, one of 41 civic leaders to make the trip.
"I immediately felt the care and respect provided to our fallen servicemembers," she said.
"While terribly sad and moving, the experience has provided me with a unique perspective of our military personnel's pride and honor and their true dedication to our country."
The civic leader program is an Air Staff-level program whose membership comprises respected community leaders selected by officials from Air Force major commands, the National Guard Bureau and Headquarters Air Force.
The civic leaders provide ideas and feedback to advise the Secretary of the Air Force, the Air Force Chief of Staff and Air Force senior leaders about how missions can best be accomplished in their respective areas and about public attitudes toward the Air Force and Air Force activities in their areas.
As one of a select few chosen for this honor, Ms. Weather-man thinks she - like everyone else chosen to serve - has something unique to bring to the table.
"While my role as an economic developer provides support to our military installation, this position will enable me to make a stronger impact for our community," said Ms. Weatherman, who resides over the operations and strategic direction of a nearly $2.5 million operation with 15 staff members.
"And, as a Civic Leader, I have a forum for open discussion regarding the development of our space program and the important role of the 45th Space Wing, and other military units around the Space Coast," she said.
She also was impressed with the personal interaction with Air Force leaders which convinced her that this is more than a symbolic nomination.
"Meeting and spending time with (Air Force Chief of Staff) General (Norton) Schwartz and his staff was a true indication of the significance of this position," she said.
"All of us were provided with the opportunity to openly interact and discuss their relevant concerns or ideas.
"In addition, I was pleased to hear the recognition of space and cyberspace as a strategic priority for the Air Force," she added.
Prior to meeting with senior leaders in Delaware, Ms. Weatherman had a chance to have another get-together with Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, commander, 45th Space Wing.
"While I have had much interaction with Patrick Air Force Base and the 45th Space Wing over the years, my meeting with General Wilson and his staff allowed for a full perspective and discussion of the entire operation of the base," she said.
"Now that we are back, I am more excited than ever about the opportunity to build upon our past successes and I look forward to learning more from each Civic Leader.
"In addition to the communication of priorities, one of my goals is to identify 'best practices' from other areas with military installations for our local community to emulate, which will enhance the quality of life for military families on the Space Coast," she said.
General Wilson thinks the selection of Ms. Weatherman is a win-win for everyone concerned.
"We are thrilled to have 'one of our own' chosen to be part of this important team," he said.
"Ms. Weatherman will continue to have the opportunity to meet directly with the Air Force Chief of Staff and other senior leaders, and be able to provide timely, pertinent information on the situation here on the Space Coast, as well as serve as our Air Force Space Command voice regarding community issues.
"We couldn't have asked for a better choice and we all look forward to working with her as she settles into this position," he said.