Page 20 - South Mississippi Living - August, 2021
P. 20

    story by Kimberly C. Rasmussen
photos courtesy of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce
The Gulf Coast is the proud home to several of our Nation’s armed forces. We entrust them with our livelihood as they continue to protect and ensure our freedoms.
Like any relationship, reciprocity is essential, and it’s for this reason that our local community shows its support for our men and women in uniform through a number of local volunteer organizations. A standout among these is the newly rebranded, Military One Coast (M1C), formerly the Coast Centurions Association, a division of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.
M1C has assisted in lessening the threat of installation closure in the
face of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), as well as helping bridge the gap between installation leaders and the local community. Becky Montgomery Jenner, a founding member and retired Mississippi Army National Guard Colonel, asserts that patriotism and
a willingness to help were driving factors in the foundation of the original Centurions Association.
Since its inception in 1995, M1C has aimed at forming a strong and cooperative relationship between the military and civilian sector through outreach programs and financial support. Military spouse tours, along
with civilian tours of local bases are just a few examples of how M1C strives to provide its constituents, as well as its members, firsthand insight to
military activity.
For several years, M1C has been a
proud sponsor of the annual Salute
to the Military dinner, as well as both the Gulfport and Biloxi Veterans
Day parades. In recent years, M1C
has volunteered with Riemann
Funeral Home by accompanying
local veterans to the World War II Museum. The latest addition to M1C accomplishments has been awarding small business grants to Gulf Coast Chamber members who are active duty or veteran business owners.
Former Keesler Air Force Base Commander, Colonel Heather Blackwell applauds the efforts of community organizations such as M1C. “Out of all the things our Airmen accomplish, one of the most important is developing connections with our local communities,” she says. “The impact of those connections may not always be tangible, but they are vital for Keesler Air Force Base. We appreciate the outreach efforts of our surrounding cities and local chambers of commerce. It is only as a team that we can achieve our goals.”
Although the last 12 months have
hindered certain aspects of M1C activities, efforts certainly have not stalled. The rebranding to M1C from its original name as Coast Centurions was an important step towards a broader
and more meaningful understanding of M1C goals. Gulf Coast Chamber CEO Adele Lyons says, “M1C is and continues to be a vital part of our program of work. With the strong presence of both active-duty military and retirees on the Gulf Coast, it just makes sense that the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce would have an organization that focuses on the military.”
Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce 11975 Seaway Rd., Gulfport 228.604.0014 •

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