For Immediate Release: May 30, 2017
Contact: Rick Heartsill | 205-356-8180 |

Fort Rucker: Heartbeat of the Wiregrass Coalition Stresses Support of Economic, Social Partner

DOTHAN, Ala. – Fort Rucker: Heartbeat of the Wiregrass, a grassroots coalition of local citizens, businesses, military personnel and others whose aim is to support and protect the fort and its economic and community contributions, was unveiled today at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

The coalition’s goal is to ensure that Fort Rucker continues to build on its irreplaceable role in our national defense strategy, remains the economic driver for southeastern Alabama, and is forever the strong social backbone of dozens of communities. Thousands of families rely on Fort Rucker’s economic impact, and thousands of military families count the Wiregrass as home or recall the region as one of their best postings ever.

“I was pleased to attend the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) hearing in support of Fort Rucker in 2016. As governor, standing up for our military institutions, like Fort Rucker, is one of my top priorities. I’m excited to see local leaders coming together to build a grassroots coalition in support of Fort Rucker. This facility is critical to Alabama’s economy and America’s defense,” Governor Kay Ivey stated.

“Fort Rucker is a critical part of our region’s economy, providing over 23,000 jobs in the Wiregrass and $1 billion in annual payments to military retirees in the Wiregrass region,” said Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz. “But, for me, every time I see or hear a helicopter overhead, it reminds me to be thankful for the troops who protect our country. Supporting Fort Rucker: Heartbeat of the Wiregrass is one way we can all show them how grateful we are for their service.”

The scope of Fort Rucker is vast, including active-duty, reserve and National Guard soldiers along with civilian and contract workers. According to the Fort Rucker website, the daytime population is 15,700 – including more than 5,000 uniformed personnel, more than 7,000 civilian and contract workers and more than 3,600 family members. The fort’s training area and airspace and land availability encompass 27 counties in three states.

Fort Rucker came to be in 1942 in the early months of World War II. In the decades since, the Army personnel who have been stationed there have contributed immeasurably to America’s national defense and to the economic health of the Wiregrass. Now, in this time of defense cutbacks, the Heartbeat of the Wiregrass coalition aims to help keep Fort Rucker strong for decades to come.

“Fort Rucker benefits so many aspects of our city that they are almost too numerous to mention,” said Enterprise Mayor Bill Cooper. “However, one aspect that is a particular point of pride to me is the positive effect that the Fort Rucker community has on our school system. Interested students and fully engaged parents are a dream come true for our teachers and administrators. These students are learning – both at home and in the schools – how to be productive and upstanding citizens, and we’re proud of them.”

The Fort Rucker: Heartbeat of the Wiregrass coalition is being led by Southeast Gas and local elected officials and community leaders.

Supporters of Fort Rucker can join in this effort by visiting and signing up as a member of the coalition. There is no charge, and members will NEVER be solicited for financial donations.