The Military Times recently announced their first-ever “Best for Vets Places to Live.” The analysis included 577 cities. The top 25 in each of three population categories: large (250,000+), medium (250,000-75,000) and small (less than 75,000) were published.
As a veteran, I was pumped to see that O’Fallon made the small cities list (No. 20 of 265), until further review revealed it was O’Fallon, Mo. Lee’s Summit also made the small cities list (No. 19) as did KC in the large cities category (No. 12).
The criterion was wide and deep. Each city’s veteran and military culture and services, plus livability factors like crime, traffic, and schools were included. Population, home price, rent, income, unemployment, and commute were also included.
Finally, “Best Vet” rankings in terms of colleges, career and technical schools, business schools, employers, franchises, and law enforcement were added.
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You’d think cities in close proximity to Scott AFB, which recently tied for first place as Air Force Times’ top stateside base for active duty military, would fare very well in the retiree realm.
I was able to get in contact with the Military Times analyst and learned that 18 Illinois cities were included — none south of Springfield.
Let me be the first to challenge our area leadership: We’ve got a year to figure out how to get on the Military Times candidate cities list. Then, we can show just what we’ve got to offer vets to make them want to call the metro-east home.