Minot AFB more than a good neighbor

Minot Air Force Base is such a ubiquitous part of this community, region and state, that some might take it for granted.

That is, if the base and Minot weren’t so inter-related; if we did not have such a close relationship.

That relationship is characterized by civilian engagement with the base and vice versa; with programs presented by one party or the other to benefit one another; by a legion of volunteers from Minot AFB helping out at numerous events in Minot; and with Minot residents welcoming airmen with distinct hospitality. There is a palpable appreciation for one another, affection and pride.

It’s hard to imagine a community having a closer relationship with a military institution than Minot has with Minot AFB. Both Minot community leaders and Minot AFB personnel have for years fostered this relationship and it is something that makes the city and the base special. The forethought to build these bridges speaks well of leadership of the city and the base for many years.

However, the relationship can also be defined in terms of economic impact. As reported in Friday’s Minot Daily News, the number is $580.4 million. That’s what the base’s economic impact came to in 2017. Maj. Douglas Bauer, commander of the base’s 5th Comptroller Squadron, presented the annual economic impact analysis report at the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee meeting Thursday in Minot.

The total economic impact for fiscal year 2017 is calculated by combining the annual payroll of military members, federal civilians and other civilians employed at the base (more than $381.6 million), annual expenditures (more than $96.9 million); and the annual dollar value of indirect jobs created (more than $101.8 million).

The economic impact stretches across the regional economy, affecting virtually every aspect of the economy.

One wonders what the state of Minot would be were it not for the massive contribution from the base.

Fortunately, that isn’t something to wonder about.

It is in good character to thank any service member when the opportunity presents itself.

As a community, we should thank Minot AFB for being more than a good neighbor, but rather an essential component of the heart of Minot.