Scott AFB welcomes new Honorary Commanders

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jodi Martinez)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jodi Martinez)

SCOTT AFB – Thirty-six regional civic leaders were inducted into the Honorary Commanders Program at Scott on Nov. 1.

The Honorary Commanders Program provides an opportunity for military leaders to build strong, positive, and lasting relationships with local community leaders while exploring mutual areas of interest and increasing public understanding of the base’s missions, assets, and people.

“This is our way of reaching out to the community and building partnerships,“ said Col. Laura Lenderman, installation commander and commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing.

Honorary Commander, Dr. Janet Fontenot, dean of the Business Division, Southwestern Illinois College, said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Honorary Commanders Program. I am particularly pleased to be paired with Lt. Col. Eric Trias and his Cyberspace Support Squadron.

“I look forward to learning more about their mission and the role they play both at Scott and within the Department of Defense. This experience will be a great opportunity to explore the many ways we can strengthen the partnership between the base and the community.”

John Marquart, an Honorary Commander and village administrator of Shiloh, Ill., shared similar enthusiasm for the opportunities the Honorary Commanders Program provides. He said, “I’m teamed with Lt. Col. Ray Smith, commander of the 932nd Operations Group. I’m excited to learn more about what he does, what his group does and for whom his group supports.

“I’m also excited to let him know what I do and what being the village administrator of Shiloh is all about. I very much appreciate this opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Shiloh and Scott Air Force Base.”

The Honorary Commanders Program is designed to generate better connectivity between these civilian honorary commanders—their communities, their businesses, and the organizations they represent—and Scott AFB. The 36 Honorary Commanders were matched with military leaders from the 375th AMW, the 618th Air Operations Center, the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing and its subordinate squadrons, the Cyberspace Support Squadron, and the 932nd Airlift Wing.

The Honorary Commanders and military leaders will meet once a quarter to learn about each other’s organizations. Honorary Commanders will also be invited out to commander’s calls and promotion, retirement, and change of command ceremonies, as well as special events like the Air Force Ball. Military commanders are likewise encouraged to immerse themselves in their Honorary Commanders’ communities and organizations.

Honorary Commander, Ellen Boyne, client relationship manager, Technology and Leadership Center, Washington University, said, “I think the program is a great idea! I am excited to learn more about the base and all the different groups that are housed there.

“I think it can only be helpful to have representatives from the community and the base working together.”

Boyne is matched with Lt. Col. Flint Sconyers, commander, 375th Communications Support Squadron; the two have already made plans for their next visit.

“I am looking forward to an event that Lt. Col. Sconyers invited me to in November near the Thanksgiving holiday. I am excited to meet the team he works with and their families,” said Boyne.

Honorary Commander Mayor Ann Rodgers of Washington Park, Ill., is also looking forward to participating in the program and forging stronger connections between the village and the base.

Rodgers, who is matched with Col. Dave Sanford, commander, 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, said, “… I walked in as Mayor of Washington Park in May 2013 and knew it was going to be a great challenge for me and a challenge I was up for. Washington Park is a depressed community that needs a stretched hand of more resources to build it where it needs to be.

“The Honorary Commanders Program is another great way to highlight our community,” said Rodgers. “After having a brief conversation with Col. Lenderman, I was excited to hear that she wanted to extend her hand out and reach past the base to help the surrounding communities. I am looking forward to building great relationships with Scott.”

The underlying goal of the Honorary Commanders Program is creating, maintaining, and growing these close relationships.

“These bonds can last for life,“ said Lenderman. “My Honorary Commander back when I was a squadron commander from 2007 through 2009 is still one of my great friends.

“She knew nothing about the military going into the program and, now, she is a civic leader for Air Mobility Command. These are the kinds of relationships we hope we start tonight and continue beyond the year or two of your honorary command,” Lenderman said to the attendees gathered at the induction ceremony. We hope this becomes a life-long relationship for all of you.”

Honorary Commanders

  • Mayor Allen Adomite, Troy
  • Dr. Rick Barnes, Ear, Nose & Throat, Plastic Surgery Inc.
  • Patty Barnett, Explore St. Louis
  • Susan Beeler, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
  • Steve Bione, First Command
  • Chris Blair, Gateway Motorsports Park
  • Kevin Bollman, Weingarten
  • Ellen Boyne, Technology & Leadership Center, Washington University
  • L. David Bridges, Carda Construction
  • Charlotte Bruce, Sams’ Club
  • James Caldwell, Gateway Grizzlies
  • Paul Evans, Evans Law Firm
  • Dr. Janet Fontenot, Southwestern Illinois College
  • Matt Gilreath, Chick-fil-A
  • Mary Jane Hanrahan, Wells Fargo
  • Diane Hartenbach, CSX Intermodal
  • Jim Havel, Vatterott Educational Centers
  • Dr. Ed Hightower, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities
  • Ruth Holmes, Memorial Hospital East
  • Dr. A. Lauren Hood-Olson, Olson Orthodontics
  • Tyler Huth, Ballpark Village
  • Jerril Jones, Center for Racial Harmony
  • Ann Joos, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Mayor Mark Kupsky, Fairview Heights
  • John Marquart, village of Shiloh
  • Dr. Daniel Morra, Right from the Start Pediatrics
  • SJ Morrison, Madison County Transit
  • Dr. Mike Murphy, Vision Care Associates
  • Mark Peters, St. Clair County Health Department
  • Brad Reinhardt, Giltner St. Louis
  • Lynette Rienbolt, Selsius Corporate and Career Training
  • Tom Rezabeck, Edison’s Entertainment Complex
  • Mayor Ann Rodgers, Washington Park
  • Dale Sauer, Shiloh Village School District 85
  • Dr. Ronda Sauget, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
  • Chief Eric Van Hook, O’Fallon Public Safety