ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla --
What is the Altus Military Affairs Committee? Why is it important to the base, community and the Airmen at Altus AFB?
The MAC is your gateway to Altus,” said Dr. Nikki Killhoffer, MAC member and local veterinarian. “The people on the MAC will give you the ins and outs of the local area. The MAC will open your eyes to the people and community of Altus and how wonderful this place can be.
The MAC is comprised of individuals in the community whose purpose is to promote Altus AFB and support its Airmen. The MAC hosts events for Airmen and community members to enhance the relationship between Altus AFB and the community.
“We help fund events such as the cattle drive, rodeos and Committee of 100 dinners,” said David Braddock, MAC vice chairman. “We look for ways to enhance our Airmen’s lives. For example, we ask ourselves, how can we make this a better place to live and work and what are ways we can help military family members adjust to life in Altus.”
The MAC was established 65 years ago, just a decade shy of Altus AFB. In that time, the MAC has aided in multiple projects to improve the quality of life for Airmen and the community. The MAC has continued to uphold its dedication to improving conditions on the base.
“We work with base leadership to support our Airmen. Some of the projects we’ve helped out with are housing for Airmen, infrastructure needs of the base, water quality, the fire department and recently we’ve been trying to work on the main entrance of the base to help make it more secure,” said Braddock. “We’ve made arrangements to move forward with that. We’ve got the land, now we are pushing to get everything finalized.”
The MAC meets at least four times a year around the Altus area including the base to discuss the needs of the Airmen and plan for upcoming events.
“We’re really excited for the base’s new training area for the KC-46,” said Braddock. “It’s something we’ve been pushing for quite a while.”
Killhoffer has first-hand experience going through the “gateway to Altus” as she and her husband were new members to the community not so long ago.
“When I first moved here I didn’t know anyone and I was very bored,” said Killhoffer. “I was really welcomed into the area through Military Affairs Committee and being Honorary Commanders at Altus AFB. The Honorary Commanders Program gave us the chance to learn first-hand about the mission of the base. It also let us get to know the commanders and Airmen at Altus. The people in Altus and on base were all friendly and supportive. Everyone’s so excited when a young couple buys a business in this town because it means this town will move forward and will keep young people here.”
Killhoffer and her husband, also a veterinarian, bought a veterinarian clinic so they could work together in Altus. Seeing as this support is not already available on base, many of her customers are military members. Killhoffer also served as an honorary commander for the 97th Security Forces Squadron. Her time with the SFS left an impact on her, leading her and her husband to get more involved with the Military Affairs Committee.
“After our time as honorary commanders was up, I looked to my husband and said, ‘We need to become members of MAC so we can keep hanging out with military members’,” said Killhoffer. “I think it’s great that we did. Many of our clients are military members and it keeps us informed about what’s going on, on base. I think that communication between the base and Altus is good for the community leaders in Altus.”
MAC members come from all walks of life and understand the concerns Airmen may have about the location. The military base has touched the lives of many people in the local community, motivating them to give back.
“The Air Force means a lot to me because of what it’s meant for Altus,” said Braddock. “Growing up, back when there were B-52’s [Stratofortress] flying out of this base, I had friends who were from the base who’d been all over the world. I appreciate all the sacrifices that people in the military make and it’s an honor to help them out in any way we can.”
By supporting Altus AFB, the MAC opens up new opportunities for the base, Airmen and local community to make the Altus area even better.
“When I first moved here I was very sad, but now I love it,” said Killhoffer. “After a year here, we were given the chance to buy the clinic here. My husband asked me if there was somewhere else I’d like to go because we could work anywhere in the United States or the world and I said no, there’s no other place I could see us raising our family than Altus.”