Leadership Lowndes partners with Moody

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Community leaders from across Lowndes County joined Airmen for Defense Day at Moody Air Force Base, August 17, 2023, to gain deeper insight into the mission and military life.

Leadership Lowndes has partnered with Moody for over 30 years, continuing the symbiotic relationship focusing on education, community outreach and partnership opportunities.

“Leadership Lowndes is a forum they've had in the larger Valdosta community for several decades,” said Col. Michael Gallagher, 23rd Mission Support Group commander. “Every year we host a number of people; it's mostly private individuals, community leaders and business leaders that apply and then are selected to participate in a yearlong forum. Airmen and the community come together to discuss a range of topics once a month. Collectively we build teams that participate in community projects and learn ways to better different areas within the community.”

Gallagher went on to explain how the existing relationship with programs such as Leadership Lowndes connects the base to the community.

“Fostering these relationships provides everyone the chance to understand some of the opportunities that exist on and off base,” he said. “We can then bring that information back and pair appropriately with the community.”

Strengthening relationships between Moody and Lowndes County allows both sides to learn more about shared interests and potential opportunities.

“The more time we spend together the more we learn that we are more similar than we are different,” said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County Manager and 2023 president of Leadership Lowndes. “Our families have the same needs, we have both personal and professional goals, we are competitive, we have high standards and we take pride in seeing our teams succeed. In fact, most of our career fields overlap. Sharing experiences and ideas bridges the gap between Moody and Lowndes County, making both better in the process.”

Community members who attended Defense Day were educated about the squadrons supporting the pulse of Moody’s mission. Leadership Lowndes class participants had the opportunity to interact with Airmen, military working dogs, military first responders and had the opportunity to explore an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

After learning more about the different aspects of Moody’s mission, Rachel Thrasher, Community Development Director and one of the Leadership Lowndes class participants shared her thoughts on the Defense Day experience.

“I have lived in this community my entire life and still there’s parts of the community I haven’t had a full picture of,” she said. “I was excited to be on base all day and see things that happen behind the gates. Being able to see firsthand the kind of inner workings of everything at Moody has been so rewarding.”