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Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois wins Abilene Trophy

  • Published
  • By By 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Scott Air Force Base, Ill. -- The Abilene Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee announced the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois as the winner for the 2019 Abilene Trophy on Oct. 27 during the Annual Airlift/Tanker Association Virtual Convention.

The Abilene Trophy was established in January 1999 to recognize the best community support to an AMC base each calendar year. Communities submit documentation of their support to the Abilene Chamber’s MAC, who selects the winning package.

The Leadership Council was recognized for its work in advocating for the passage of Illinois House Bill 1652, which provides expedited professional license reciprocity for military spouses and servicemembers. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law in August 2019 and it went into effect in January. This bill impacts approximately 110 professional licenses administered by the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

“One of the key issues impacting military recruitment and retention is license reciprocity for military spouses,” said Col. J. Scot Heathman, Scott Air Force Base Installation commander and commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing. “The Leadership Council understands the impact of frequent relocations on our military spouses’ careers.  Their advocacy and leadership on this issue was crucial in getting this law passed.”

The Leadership Council’s award package also included many examples of the communities’ support to Scott AFB like the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber’s Annual Salute to Scott, the Belle-Scott Committee’s Annual Enlisted Dinner, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ participation in the 2019 Wounded Warrior CARE Event held in August.

This is the third win for the Leadership Council and the communities surrounding Scott AFB. The Abilene Trophy was also awarded to the Council in 2014 and 2012.

And, this is the second time the communities surrounding Scott AFB have been recognized for its support this year. The Association of Defense Communities named St. Clair County, where the base resides, a 2020 Great American Defense Community for its efforts to improve the quality of life for servicemembers and their families assigned here.

“Over 100 years ago, the community came together to advocate to the War Department to establish Scott AFB” said Heathman. “Scott’s continued growth and success is born form the outstanding support it receives from the surrounding communities.

“Scott would not be able to carry out its missions without the region's supporters and now they have two awards they can see and hold that reminds them what they do for us truly matters,” said Heathman.