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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Greater Spokane Incorporated honored for supporting Fairchild Air Force Base

FILE – Two of the Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team fly alongside a KC-135 tanker aircraft in 2017 over the Nevada desert. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Greater Spokane Incorporated has won the 2017 Abilene Trophy, an annual award recognizing a community’s support of its local Air Force base.

Known officially as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, the honor has been given out once a year since its creation in 1998. It is the fourth time Spokane has been recognized for its support, following awards in 2013, 2006 and 2000.

GSI, which acts as the region’s chamber of commerce, was recognized for it donations of holiday gift cards for military families, shipments of care packages to deployed personnel from the base and for jointly hosting a TEDx-style leadership conference at the base called Leaders Inspiring for Tomorrow, or LIFT.

“I can’t think of a more deserving community to win this award,” Col. Ryan Samuelson, Fairchild Air Force Base commander, said in a statement. “Whether it be through crisis last year, supporting us in the airshow, and all the innovative programs they’ve initiated to integrate airmen into the community.”

This year’s award was presented at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois last month before more than 180 wing commanders and command chiefs from across the mobility air forces.

Air Mobility Command is the division of the Air Force that operates most large transport and refueling planes. It has major bases in or near 13 cities. Its mission is to provide “rapid, global mobility” for the military through airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation and contingency response.

Previous winners of the award are chambers of commerce in Dover, Delaware; St. Louis, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Grand Forks, North Dakota; and the greater Tampa Bay Area in Florida.

Winners of the award are chosen by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee in Texas.