Colorado Springs Lauded as Top Home for Troops

Members of Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Schriever and Peterson Air Force Bases participate in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade Nov. 8, 2014, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force Photo/Christopher DeWitt)
Members of Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Schriever and Peterson Air Force Bases participate in the Colorado Springs Veterans Day Parade Nov. 8, 2014, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force Photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Colorado Springs was lauded as one of the best places for troops to call home with an award by the Association of Defense Communities.

The "Great American Defense Community Award" came with praise for Colorado Springs charities and plaudits for local cooperation between politicians and the Pikes Peak region's five military bases, said Andy Merritt, who heads military programs for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

The award, given last week, is a boost for the business alliance and the area's other pro-military groups, which have worked to woo the Pentagon ahead of a threatened base closure round.

"This is fantastic for us," Merritt said. "This is a national honor."

The award was picked by the Association of Defense Communities, which leans on Congress and the military to address base-related concerns. The business alliance this year spearheaded a move to send larger delegations to the association's meetings in a bid to raise the Pikes Peak region's profile at the Pentagon.

The award, Merritt said, shows those generals and admirals the local commitment to supporting the military.

"What won it for us is the breadth of efforts that go on in this community," he said.

Building closer relations with military leaders comes as the Army and Air Force push to get Congress to authorize a base closure round. Both contend they have excess property that is wasting money.

While a base closure round vote is unlikely until after the presidential election, Merritt and others say work done now will help when closures are more likely. Merritt said building those relationships could help Colorado Springs gain troops as other installations lose.

The award was given during an association conference in South Carolina, which drew leaders from the Pentagon.

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