Back to News Front

One of the best

South Sound selected as a Great American Defense Community

Local leaders and community supporters were recognized this week for creating one of the best pro-military areas in the United States. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

The votes are in. Washington's South Sound has been selected as a Great American Defense Community, designating this area one of the best regions in the country when it comes to supporting its military.

Not too shocking considering the support of military families and collaborations between the military and local businesses. The Association of Defense Communities (ADC) and the Defense Communities Caucus designated 10 communities across the Nation as "Great American Defense Communities" for providing unwavering support to servicemembers and military families.

Bill Adamson, South Sound Military and Communities Partnership (SSMCP) Program Manager organized and orchestrated the nomination packet. "When the idea of a recognition of a military defense community came up, we put together a nomination packet that impacts the entire South Puget Sound. We called it a regional effort," said Adamson. There were four categories in the nomination process; community building and integration, support and collaboration, educational and employment opportunities, and family support.

This is the first year of the Great American Defense Communities program, which acknowledges the unique contributions that cities, counties and regions that host installations make to improve quality of life for servicemembers, veterans and their families. According to ADC CEO Tim Ford, the 10 communities selected as the inaugural class embody the ideals that the Great American Defense Communities was designed to celebrate. Through this program, they hope to receive positive stories from the communities and military in which they serve.

This inaugural class of communities was selected by a panel of defense community advocates and experts. Of those communities selected, the South Puget Sound was the only winner that represented a region rather than a single city. The other nine communities selected were: Colorado Springs, CO; Dayton, OH; Ft. Leonard Wood, MO; Goldsboro, NC; Grand Forks, ND; Lawton, OK; Manhattan, KS; Monterey, CA; and Okaloosa County, FL.

According to Adamson, it was a true team effort. In the nomination submitted by SSMCP, the South Puget Sound received letters of support from 17 different legislators and leaders in the community to include: U.S. Representatives Denny Heck, Derek Kilmer and Adam Smith; U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell; the Nisqually Chairman Farron McCloud; and base representation from I Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza and JBLM Commander Col. Dan Morgan. Others that lent their support were: Nisqually CEO, John Simmons; State Representatives Christine Kilduff and Dick Muri; State Senator Steve O'Ban; Thurston County Commissioners Sandra Romero, Bud Blake and Cathy Wolfe; Retired U.S. Representative Norm Dicks; the Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson; and the Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder.

The award recipients will be recognized throughout the year in a variety of events that will culminate in a June exhibit and reception on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Pentagon. "We will also be doing a local recognition ceremony at our spring SSMCP workshop in May, when we bring in the elected officials," said Adamson.

Locally, planning is underway by some officials to develop new signage and decals to put on road signs that read, "Great American Defense Community." "Over time it will be more obvious to the public," said Adamson. "I think this designation will possibly influence people making real estate decisions in our area. Veterans and retirees might want to move to a community that has this type of recognition because of the programs that are offered."

This just goes to show that South Puget Sound stands behind the military and works to provide unwavering support to the servicemembers and their families.

For more information about this program and the recipients, visit

Read next close


Jolting excursions

comments powered by Disqus