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Tampa Chamber Of Commerce To Host Military Appreciation Event

MacDill Air Force Base
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kiera Steen salutes U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Lyons, U.S. Transportation Command commander, at MacDill Air Force Base, Feb. 8, 2019.

MacDill Air Force Base has the largest economic impact on the Tampa Bay area compared to all other companies and organizations.

The Tampa Chamber of Commerce is honoring the armed forces’ contribution to the area at its 21st Annual Military Appreciation event Friday. 

“More than anything, it is a ‘thank you’ to military personnel for being great parts of our community,” said 2019 Chamber of Commerce Chair, Jamie Harden. “We’ll have our chamber members, board and a number of other guests coming out to celebrate the military and our community.”

The event is also intended to foster a relationship between the military and the Tampa business community.

“The MacDill annual economic impact on Tampa Bay is $3 billion every year,” Harden stated. “That’s bigger than any other business that we have in this community.”

He expressed that as a huge economic driver, it is important to continue making sure a relationship is maintained.

“The message is that we really value the relationship that our community has with MacDill, and the partnership we have with the folks at the base,” he said. 

The event will focus on saluting military members, veterans and civilians alike.

“There’s some veterans that will be awarded as well as some of the civilians who also work on base,” Harden said. “The awards are typically driven around those service men and women and civilians who have not only excelled in their role, but also where they’ve given back to the community.”

New this year, attendees will benefit from more face-to-face social opportunities.

“We’ve decided to try something new this year by having the event as a late afternoon event,” said Harden. “It is business casual with the hopes of being a more social opportunity compared to past years’ events.”

“We’ve got great music, entertainment and food,” said Harden. Featured entertainment will include performances from JT Douglas and Busch Gardens.

This year, there will be between 100 and 200 military personnel in attendance.

The event will be held at the Sheltair, located on 4751 Jim Walter Blvd., on Friday from 2 - 4:30 p.m. It is open to the public and registration will be available at the door. More information is available on The Chamber of Commerce website.

Garnet Brown Gordon-Somers is a WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for spring 2019.