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Military advocates moving to Warren

WARREN — The commission that advocates for the preservation of and promotes the value of military installations crucial to the Mahoning Valley is moving away from the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber in a step toward independence.

The Eastern Ohio Military Affairs Commission (EOMAC) will now be housed at the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio in downtown Warren. It will provide fiscal and back office support to the commission, as well as help organize a donor advisory board.

The chamber, which launched the commission in 2014, will continue to provide it with marketing and government relations support.

“The intention all along was for EOMAC to be a standalone organization focusing on protecting and growing the economic output of the air station,” said Tom Humphries, chamber president and CEO. “The community foundation, because of its impeccable reputation serving the community, is the perfect vehicle for propping up EOMAC as an independent organization.”

Since its creation, the commission has helped attract tens of millions of dollars in federal investment for the reserve station in Vienna and Camp Garfield near Newton Falls.

The commission also received a $600,000 grant from the state that helped it hire advocacy firms in Columbus and Washington, D.C., that lobbied for help for a new multimillion gate project at the reserve station and millions for Camp Garfield for a new barracks and weapons ranges.

“This has been huge and a force multiplier as our advocacy efforts go,” said Vito Abruzzino, commission director.

Most recently, the commission worked with federal officials to secure four C-130J model aircraft in the federal defense budget and ensure the reserve station would be one of the sites considered to house the planes. The reserve station is the third-largest employer in the Mahoning Valley and first in Trumbull County.

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