The St. Louis region's strong support for military personnel at Scott Air Force Base has won the region the Abilene Trophy from the Air Mobility Command.
Gen. Paul J. Selva, the command's chief, announced the St. Louis region had won the trophy -- formerly known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award -- during a recent reception in St. Louis.
The Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois, based in Edwardsville, spearheaded this year's nomination on behalf of the St. Louis region, which includes St. Louis and St. Louis County in Missouri, and St. Clair and Madison counties in Illinois.
Ellen Krohne, the council executive director, credited the victory to the contributions of individuals, businesses and sports teams, as well as dozens of letters of support from local, state and federal lawmakers.
Scott is the Air Mobility Command's host base, which makes the winning of the Abilene Trophy especially meaningful, Krohne said.
"The people at Scott are so excited about it, because to them it's a big deal," Krohne said. "We've been trying to win it for a long time."
The region's winning of the trophy is significant because "it shows how much the region values Scott Air Force Base," Krohne said.
Krohne acknowledge the problems the air base faces because of the federal budget sequester, which by next month could result in weekly furloughs for 4,500 civilian workers at Scott.
"I think even if the economic times aren't good, I think that support and that love of airmen at Scott is still there," she said.
Representatives from the Abilene Trophy selection committee cited how well the region told its story, and the supporting documentation proved a key factor that propelled St. Louis into the winners' circle among the eight communities vying for the 2012 award.
The St. Louis regional nomination package cited 270 examples of the community helping military personnel at the base, including the documented awarding of nearly $500,000 worth of document aid to Scott units through the H.E.R.O.E.S. Care program alone, according to a news release from the council.
No date has been set for the ceremony to present the Abilene Trophy to St. Louis regional leaders.
The Abilene Award as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award. Established in 1998, the award is sponsored by the Abilene, Texas, Chamber of Commerce, the home of Dyess Air Force Base, which hosts the 317th Airlift Group.
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at email@example.com or 618-239-2533.