Northeast Indiana Base Community Council 

  "America's Most Engaged Military Community!"

246th Marine Corps Birthday Ball

The NIBCC was proud to sponsor the Marine Corps Birthday Ball presented by Marine Corps League Detachment #1435 Pride and Purpose. The event took place at Ceruti's Event Center, and featured dinner, outreach program donation presentations, awards, dancing, and of course, the famous cutting of the birthday cake.

The next event for the MCL will be its monthly Pancake Breakfast on Jan. 15 for 8 to 11 a.m. VFW Post 857 located at the corner of West Main Street and Leesburg Road in Fort Wayne. 

Cost is $5 per person ($3 per child).  Select from 2 pancakes and 2 sausage links, 2 blueberry pancakes and 2 sausage links, biscuits and gravy, or build-your-own omelet with 2 sausage links.  Breakfast includes coffee and orange juice.

Groups of 6 or more are welcome, but organizers encourage large parties to come between 8 and 9:30 a.m. to ensure prompt service. 

The 247th Birthday Ball is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12  at Ceruti's.

New Board Schedule

Beginning in 2022, NIBCC Board meetings will be held on the "3rd Tuesday" of the month at 9:00 AM at 200 East Main Street, Fort Wayne, on either the 8th Floor (GFW) or the 9th floor (Regional Partnership). See schedule below.

Membership Renewals Due in January

Membership in the NIBCC runs January thru December. That means renewals are due soon.

Your membership in the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council is much needed and greatly appreciated! Whether you are an individual member or you represent an organization, your contributions of time, talent and financial support drive each impact we have on local members of the armed forces and veterans, military families, and our community.

Membership dues are imperative to the NIBCC carrying out its mission. As a volunteer-led nonprofit organization, membership dues represent approximately 96% of the funding for our programs and activities.

Thank you for your support in 2021 and we look forward to your support in 2022!

To join or renew, click HERE

Run, Run Rudolf—Santa’s in the Race for the Warrior

Well, maybe not, but we do have a special offer for the holidays.

In other race news, Race for the Warrior co-chair Eric Flores presented Carmen Cumberland, executive director for Community Harvest Food Bank with a check for $516.20 which will provide more than 2,000 meals to veterans and military families in need through Community Harvest's Hope for Heroes program. Together, we can end hunger in Northeast Indiana. If you or anyone you know is a veteran or widowed spouse in need, please call the food bank at (260) 447-3696.

Military Family Adoption and Hardship Relief Programs

Last month, the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council presented Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County with a $5,000 donation for the Associated Churches Christmas Military Family Adoption program and the Associated Churches Military Hardship Relief program. 

Associated Churches works closely with the Family Readiness Unit at the 122nd and 293rd to adopt families requesting support at Christmas. The families range in size from 3 to 8 members.  The Family Readiness Units provide Associated Churches with names, ages, and gender of the children as well as a "wish list" of presents they would like to receive. Close to Christmas, Santa delivers a sleigh full of presents to the service members. In a typical year, approximately 25 families are adopted. As of today, we have received the names of 98 individuals who are being adopted and we expect to receive another 30 names this year.

Sometimes the adopted families have a parent missing at Christmas because the mother or father is deployed overseas in defense of our nation. This makes your adoption even more important for the children who are here in Fort Wayne while their dad (or mom) are away from home.

Dooley Retires with Generous Donation from GFW, Inc.

NIBCC Past-president Patrick Dooley retired from his position as director of airport development for Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., and his teammates threw him a nice party Nov. 30, which included a check for $1,000 to be donated to NIBCC. 

“I am so proud of NIBCC and the amazing work this board and our supporters have done to serve our military community,” Dooley said.  “I appreciate the support Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. and the airport continue to give our organization.”

Dooley has now retired to his home in Indianapolis, but he will continue to serve on the boards of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and the Greater Fort Wayne Aviation Museum, as well as serve on the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne’s Military Scholarship Advisory Committee.  

122nd’s Children’s Christmas Party

The 122nd Fighter Wing held its Children’s Christmas Party with the help of volunteers from the USO and supplemental funding from the NIBCC. Organizers say about 90 children signed up to attend the party.

Operation Holiday Program

The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs' Military Family Relief Fund Operation Holiday Program is designed to assist veterans and their families that are experiencing financial hardship. This special program can assist with essential holiday expenses for the children that reside in their homes and a holiday meal for qualified veterans. The assistance amount would be $200.00 per child residing in the veteran's household and $150.00 for the holiday meal.

This program began on Nov. 1 and will end on Dec. 30.

For more information, visit

Scholarship Opportunities

NIBCC board members Patrick Dooley and Garry Pook worked with the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne to create two new scholarship plans for local service members, veterans, and their families.

Scholarship No. 1: Nicho Becerra Memorial Scholarship

The Nicho Becerra Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 to honor a son, brother, and best friend, Nichodemous Ramon Becerra, who graced this earth for 29 years. Nicho graduated from Bellmont High School in 2008 and went on to proudly serve in the United States Air Force. After his military career, his curiosity of medicine and love of helping people brought him into the healthcare industry as a medical technician at Parkview Hospital. He always surrounded himself by his family and a great group of friends that he held as close as family and who continue to remember him by his humor, eclectic taste in music, and love of craft beers. Through this scholarship, Nicho's love of education, knowledge, and helping those in need will continue in Northeast Indiana.

Scholarship No. 2: Tony Beam Memorial Scholarship

The Tony Beam Memorial Scholarship was established in 2021 to provide scholarships for veterans or the family members of veterans in Allen County. This scholarship was created in memory of Tony Beam who served in the United States Army Reserves and as a Human Intelligence Collector/Specialist in the War in Afghanistan. Tony loved spontaneous travel and being outdoors. He was a talented mechanic who enjoyed working on his boat and cars. He was a caring and compassionate friend, son, and brother who knew how to make those around him feel loved.

Qualifications for both scholarships:

  • Must be an active duty service member, veteran, spouse of a veteran or active duty service member, or legal dependent of a veteran or active service member, honorably discharged or medically discharged.
  • Must be based in Northeast Indiana, from Northeast Indiana, or residing in Northeast Indiana and attending an accredited college, university, or trade/vocational/technical school.
  • New scholarship opportunities will become live on Jan. 1 and close April 15. Visit the scholarship portal at to apply.

For more information, contact Lisa Pickerman at or (260) 969-3304.

Veterans History Project

Rep. Jim Banks is seeking veterans from Northeast Indiana who are willing to share their stories so that future generations can learn and better appreciate their sacrifice for the protection of our country. The Veterans History Project provides an opportunity for veterans to have their stories preserved for future generations through the Library of Congress.

Banks’ team will work with the veteran to prepare for the interview and make sure they have all the material they need before setting up to record their story. The story of their service to our country will be recorded and accessible through the Library of Congress for posterity. To sign up for or learn more about the Veterans History Project, visit

NIBCC sponsors PBS Series

This NIBCC recently sponsored the PBS series “American Veteran, ” a four-part documentary series tracing the veteran experience across the arc of American history and exploring the present-day divide between civilian and veteran communities. From the citizen-soldiers returning from the Revolution to today’s warrior class, it is a deeply moving story, illuminating the veteran experience and drawing civilian viewers into an unfamiliar culture. Episodes aired Oct. 26 thru Nov. 16.

To learn more, visit DVDs are available for purchase, or the show can be streamed via Apple TV or Amazon.

ATTN: Veteran Business Owners

The Small Business Entrepreneurship Outreach Program at has recently published a guide specifically for U.S. Veterans who are in the process of starting or currently own a small business.

Recent data points to 1 out of 20 business owners being veterans, which speaks to the fact that their unique experience and perspective  gives them the ideal skill set needed to successfully take on the challenges of entrepreneurship. Veterans are often able to demonstrate an inspiring style of leadership that is characterized by selflessness, balanced with the discipline to strive for continued growth and progress, and perfectly equipped to remain effective when facing the greatest of setbacks. Most of all, though every entrepreneur will have a different journey, sacrifice will undoubtedly be a part of the success story.

“How to Start a Small Business: A Veteran’s SMB Guide” lists tools and resources such as grants, loans and training materials for veteran entrepreneurs in 2021. To learn more, go to

Golf for the Warrior 2021

Mission accomplished! The inaugural NIBCC Golf for the Warrior outing on Sept. 24 was a success, with 36 teams and 35 military members participating at Brookwood Golf Club. A heartfelt shout out for the 122nd Fighter Wing, the 384th MP and the 1/293 ANG for the flyover, the sniper, drone, viper and vehicle displays, as well as the kind words about the Military Support Fund (which was the event focus). A fun and exciting day raising over $30,000 to directly help our warriors! As we once again work to live up to the NIBCC vision, America’s Most Engaged Military Community.” This was all possible with the help of our fabulous volunteers and sponsors.

Please mark September 23, 2022 on your calendar for the next year’s Golf for the Warrior! We’ll have more information as the time gets closer on the website:

R4TW raises over $70,000 for Military Support Fund

More than 400 people, some with their canine companions and children, completed the 7th Annual Race For The Warrior on July 24, 2021 at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

Aaron Hendryx of Huntington took first place in the 5k race with a time of 16:12.9. The first woman to cross the finish line in the 5k was Hidi Gaff of Fort Wayne at a time of 18:55.4. In the adaptive division, Calahan Young of Tucson, Arizona came in at 59:07.1. The first woman in the adaptive division was Amanda Dennis, also of Tucson, coming in at 1:00:52.8. A total of 340 people completed the 5k race.

In the 10k race, winners were Fg Garcia of Goshen with 36:25.0, and the first woman was close behind at 40:55.4. Eighty runners finished the 10K race.

Thanks to our friends at To The Finish LLC for providing the chip timing.

Virtual runners have until Aug. 1, to turn in their times.

R4TW special events chair Nicole Keesling officiated as master of ceremonies for the 2021 event. Her mother, Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling and New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael served as grand marshals. Amanda Ramone sang the national anthem, and NIBCC president Carl Huber led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. The presentation and retiring of colors were done by the Fort Wayne Police Department Color Guard and Pipe and Drum Brigade. Rev. Anthony Payton of Come as You Are Community Church offered an opening prayer, and Freedom Riders of Indiana Chapter 1 served as the pace setters.

Race for the Warrior is the main fundraiser of the year for the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council. Proceeds benefit the group’s Military Support Fund, which awards microgrants to local military service members in crisis. Funds go toward basic living expenses, medical/dental expenses, essential home/auto repair expenses, employment income gaps and other essential needs.

The race takes place every year on the runway of the Fort Wayne International Airport, which was originally a World War II military base named Baer Field. During the war, more than 100,000 military personnel served at the airport.

Known as a “party with the race in the middle,” participants can enjoy free food, DJ music, pre- and post-race stretching, a bounce house for the kids, military static displays (including a new virtual reality military experience) and other fun activities. The race is also a dog-friendly and family-friendly event. Runners aged 21 and over also receive one free beer as part of their registration

This year, we were honored to have in the audience World War II veteran Mark Weber, wearing bib number 291.

Race for the Warrior is an official Fort Wayne Running Club Point Series Race.

Please be sure to use the hashtag #r4tw2021 when posting to social media.

Thanks to everyone who made the race such a success, more than $70,000 was raised during the event.

More information is available at

To join the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, visit and follow us on social media.

Race for the Warrior News June 9, 2021

We are 45 days away from the 7th Annual Race for the Warrior, and we still have plenty of openings for racers, volunteers and sponsors, so please join us! Or even just come for lunch and hang out with us! R4TW is a party with a race in the middle of it.

The Race Itself

Race for the Warrior is a 5K/10K walk/run/roll that takes place on the runway of the Fort Wayne International Airport every year. The 7th Annual Race For The Warrior will be held Saturday, July 24. Registration begins at 7:30 am, with the race starting at 9 am.

Race For The Warrior (10k) is a Fort Wayne Running Club Point Series Race.

Can't join us on July 24? You can still support our service members by signing up for the virtual 5K or 10K race. A virtual run is done on your own time and pace with the ability to submit your results online after completion. This event will have its own award category, M/F overall and 1st place for each age group will be awarded. Sign up by July 17 and the race day t-shirt will be mailed to you. Please submit your time no later than July 26.

Proceeds benefit the Military Support Fund, a microgrant program benefiting local military service members in crisis.


Fort Wayne International Airport

6255 International Blvd Fort Wayne, IN 46809

Race and events area are on the southwest side of the airport. Enter the EVENTS area off International Boulevard just off Coverdale Road.

For Racers

All races include Lunch with the Warriors. There is no need to sign up for that event separately.

We also have Competitive Spirt Teams and Military Challenge Teams! Get your group together and make this a fun, healthy, team-building opportunity for your workplace, friends or unit.

Your registration packet also includes:

  • R4TW T-Shirt
  • Water
  • 1 Beer (for registrants +21 years. Additional beer can be purchased)

Racers can pick up their packets 4-7pm, Friday July 23 at Fleet Feet, 5661 Coventry Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Same Day registration begins at 7:30 am on Saturday, July 24 on the site.

The After Party

After your event, stay on site to enjoy the festivities:

  • Amazing food & beer (race registration includes lunch and 1 beer). Additional beverages can be purchased
  • Take a selfie by the A-10 courtesy of the 122nd Fighter Wing
  • Get inside an Army Tactical Vehicle and learn about weapons systems courtesy of the 1-293rd IN Battalion
  • Dance with Dancing Brent
  • Enjoy pre and post-race stretching and physical therapy tips courtesy of Pro Tailored Physical Therapy, LLC

To sign up for the race, go to

Become A 2021 Sponsor

We are immensely grateful to the sponsors of this year’s Race For The Warrior. If you’d like to join this list of amazing supporters, contact Jim Garigen at or (260) 440-1779.

And many others at the Sustaining, Military, Patriot, In-kind, and Patron levels!

Volunteers Are Still Needed

We need help with setup, teardown, swag bag creation, packet pickup, runner registration, volunteer registration, parking attendant, hospitality, race course attendants, time runners, water table attendants, social media promoter, greeters, and runner registration finance.

To volunteer, click HERE.

Other Ways To Support Us

  • Like and Share our social media pages and posts.
  • Use the hashtag #R4TW2021
  • Donate to the NIBCC’s Military Support Fund
  • Follow NIBCC on Facebook and LinkedIn

Thank You!

The board of directors of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council as well as the planning committee for the Race for the Warrior would like to offer our thanks to everyone who has participated in, volunteered for, and/or sponsored Race for the Warrior over the past seven years. With your help, we have been able to raise several hundreds of thousands of dollars that go toward basic living expenses, solitary disasters, medical/dental expenses, essential home/auto repair expenses, employment income gaps or issues, and other essential needs of our local active-duty service members, reservists, and guardsmen living in or serving in Northeast Indiana.

The MSF is funded by donations and the NIBCC’s annual volunteer-led Race for the Warrior held in Fort Wayne. The intent is to support ready and resilient military members and military families. With your help, we can make it happen. 

The Northeast Indiana Base Community Council - Fort Wayne, Indiana is pleased to announce the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) has presented our Military Support Fund with a targeted award of $5,000 to support our effort in combatting food insecurity for Hoosier service members. This award is to serve the veterans, service members, their families, and their caregivers in our area with a maximum benefit of $200 to individual households. These funds may be used only for direct costs related to hunger and food insecurity. This BWF funding is made possible by Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP).

The NIBCC is proud to be a BWF local partner. Our thanks to the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies for this funding to help us combat food insecurity among service members, veterans, their families, and their caregivers.

For more information, visit

A deep dive into veteran suicide

America's Warrior Partnership has started Operation Deep Dive, a program that interviews surviving family members, friends and coworkers of veterans who died by suicide or other non-natural causes (overdose, asphyxiation, accidental gunshot, drowning, suicide by law enforcement, or high-speed, single-driver accident) within the last 24 months. The goal is to examine how the deceased service member was engaged within the community and how the community can better support its service members in the future.


  • Must be 18​ or older and a relative, loved one, friend, or co-worker to a deceased former service member who has died by suicide or from non-natural causes within the last 24 months
  • Located within one of the states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas. ​​
  • Participant and former service member must have lived in the same community (metropolitan statistical area) prior to the service member's death.
  • Participant and former service member must have lived in the same community (metropolitan statistical area) prior to the service member's death.

To learn more, visit


Registration Now Open!

Looking to participate in your first 5k or 10K race? Love to walk with your furry friends? Are you a seasoned runner looking for a new challenge? Or, are you looking for a great cause to support? The Northeast Indiana Base Community Council has the event for you!

Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 9 a.m., the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council will host its 7th Annual Race for the Warrior 5k/10k runway race at the Fort Wayne International Airport. Here you can celebrate in patriotic style by running, walking, rucking down the same airstrips that used to service more than 100,000 military personnel during World War II.

Each participant will receive an official Race for the Warrior t-shirt, and a swag bag provided by our sponsors and community partners. Afterward, stick around for a great post-race party that includes music, food, bounce house, military static displays (including a new virtual reality military experience) and activities for all ages! Runners aged 21 and over will also receive one free beer as part of their registration.

Avid runners will be excited to know that our race is an official Fort Wayne Running Club Point Series Race!

Race packet pickup will be held Friday, July 23 from 4-7 p.m. at Fleet Feet and the day of the race at the registration area starting at 7:30 a.m.

The Race for the Warrior is a fundraiser that supports the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council’s Military Support Fund and other year-round programs for members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and military families.

Interested participants can sign up and find additional race information at

Video race highlights from our 2020 race can be viewed by clicking here.

Thank you, Thom Tran!

Thanks so much to Thom Tran for speaking at our virtual luncheon yesterday. We had a great time learning about his experience in the military and the struggles he endured when he returned to civilian society. Thanks also to Carl Huber, NIBCC president, Tammy Kelly from our Military Service Fund committee, and Nicole Keesling, our event chair.

Secretary Needed!

Are you looking for an opportunity to serve the local military community? The Northeast Indiana Base Community Council is looking for a secretary to serve on its executive committee. The secretary’s duties include providing meeting minutes in a timely manner, as well as input and insight into NIBCC direction and goals. They also support other committees as needed. This is a volunteer position (we are a 100% volunteer organization), but it is an excellent opportunity to be part of America’s Most Engaged Military Community. Board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m. We also have other events throughout the year. Interested candidates can contact Jim Garigen at To learn more about the NIBCC, visit Find us on Facebook and LinkedIn too.


Join us on Saturday, July 24, 2021 for the 7th Annual Race for the Warrior, a 5K/10K run/walk/ruck/roll competition that raises money for the Military Support Fund and the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council. The race will take flight occur rain or shine on the runways at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

Registration fee is $30 for 5K and $40 for 10K. Price includes race event, family entertainment, R4TW t-shirt (for registration made before July 17), lunch, water and 1 beer (must be 21+ years).

Additional options include:


We are incorporating a parallel 'lane' for those that wish to bring their leashed K9 friend for fun at the airport. Dogs are encouraged to participate in the run as long as they are leashed at all times, current on rabies and distemper vaccines, and have excellent temperament with other dogs and children. Price is $30.


From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., guests can enjoy all events and displays on the race site they encourage runners and enjoy the DJ and live band. Price is $10 and includes lunch and water.


Our second year offering a virtual run as a way for you and your group to still participate in these trying times. A virtual run is done on your own time and pace with the ability to submit your results online after completion. This event will have its own award category, male/female, overall and 1st place for each age group will be awarded. Also, if you wish to receive your shirt and swag bag, you will still need to pick up at a physical location, as shipping isn't a viable option at this time. Locations and times will be announced soon. You can text or email your times into the results; you will be sent an email on how to do that when you register. Your results will be included in a report of all the virtual runners. Race fee is $30.

Day registration and packet pickup on race day begins at 7:30 am and race start is at 9 am.

After your event, stay on site to enjoy the festivities:

  • Amazing food and beer (race registration includes lunch and 1 beer). Additional beverages can be purchased
  • Take a selfie by the A-10 courtesy of the 122nd Fighter Wing
  • Get inside an Army tactical vehicle and learn about weapons systems courtesy of the 1-293rd IN Battalion
  • Dance with Dancing Brent

For all races, registration ends July 22, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT. To register or sponsor the 7th Annual Race for the Warrior, visit

Virtual Speaker Luncheon

Los Angeles-based comedian, musician, and U.S. military veteran and advocate Thom Tran comes to Fort Wayne via Zoom March 11 as the keynote speaker for the virtual luncheon of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council.

Tran served in the Army from 1997 to 2005. After being wounded in Iraq in 2003 and medically retired in 2005, he found therapy doing standup comedy and went on to create GIs of Comedy in 2010. Since then he has been seen on popular TV shows such as Black-ish, SEAL Team, and NCIS: Los Angeles, as well as on stage playing lead guitar for a heavy metal cover band he co-founded called The Thom Tran Band.

The March 11 event will take place over Zoom, so guests can enjoy the presentation from anywhere. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time and lasts until 12:30 p.m. In addition to the guest speaker, we will also have networking opportunities for guests to mingle in the Chat Room.

Registration is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers.

Register Here

Sponsorship opportunities

Does your company do business with the military community?

Your company name and logo can be seen by hundreds of veterans and their supporters when you sponsor the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council’s March 11 Virtual Speaker Luncheon.

The event is being promoted to more than 1,000 people in the NIBCC contact list, as well as local media outlets, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The NIBCC prides itself on being America’s Most Engaged Military Community. Our goal is to unify the military, civilian and business communities of the greater Fort Wayne region through awareness, collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and leadership. NIBCC is a 100-percent volunteer organization, offering members the opportunity to participate in or attend the myriad events throughout the year. Monies raised go toward the Military Support Fund, a program offering one-time emergency financial assistance to service members living in or assigned to a unit or base in the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities for the March 11 Virtual Speaker Luncheon, contact Nicole Keesling at

News from our friends at FW22

FW22’s 7th annual 22k hike takes place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 2, 2021. The hike starts at Harley Davidson of Fort Wayne, 6315 Illinois Road. Doors open at 9 a.m.

The day is spent hiking 22 kilometers throughout Fort Wayne, stopping at local bars and returning to Harley Davidson in time to enjoy a live band, food, and huge silent auction. Registration costs are $40 for adults and $20 for children. All participants receive a free t-shirt. To register, visit

Fort Wayne 22, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organized to facilitate community involvement in the support and assistance of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) while simultaneously educating on suicide prevention and mental illness. The organization was established in June 2014 by two area Marines, Jarred White and Tyler Egbert, in response to the veteran suicide epidemic. Both men felt compelled to take action and promote change within their local communities by creating an annual event representing the 22-plus veterans that take their own lives every day due to unresolved mental health ailments.

As a philanthropic organization, our purpose is to provide financial aid, as well as transportation to and from medical appointments. Volunteers also stay with the veteran during surgery.

For more information on FW22, visit their website at and find them on Facebook @FW22K

Despite Covid, NIBCC continues to unify

2020 was a challenging year for all nonprofits, but despite the challenges of virtual meetings, socially distanced events, and finding new ways to network, the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council was able to deliver key parts of its mission.

NIBCC hosted two Speaker Series luncheons in 2020. In February, Col. Mike D. Stohler joined us at the Parkview Mirro Center to share his experience and leadership approach as commander of the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing in Fort Wayne. In October, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr. delivered the keynote address virtually, while guests enjoyed the luncheon at Cerutti’s Diamond Room in Fort Wayne. Bunch is the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Paterson Air Force Base in Ohio. This included the ability for guest to join virtually with supporters viewing the event on-line.

Our main fundraiser for the year, Race for the Warrior, held its sixth annual event in August, proving to be a model for social distancing, meeting the State of Indiana and Allen County Health Department guidelines for COVID-19 compliance. The race raises money for NIBCC Programs including the Military Support Fund, a program that provides emergency financial grants to local military families experiencing financial difficulties. Funds assist with life necessities like rent, utilities, transportation for work, uncovered medical needs. In 2020, the MSF awarded $15,500 in grants. The 7th Annual Race for the Warrior is scheduled for July 24, 2021. Race registration is now open and sponsorships are available. Sign up at .

Also among NIBCC’s accomplishments in 2020 was adopting Veterans Connect 211 as an NIBCC program. The program works with the Indiana 211 database to connect vets with services that support and serve the veteran community.

To be part of America’s most engaged military community, join or renew your membership in the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council at


Speaker Luncheons

Save the date for the next NIBCC speaker luncheon, scheduled for March 11. This event will be virtual. We’ll release more details once we have them. We have also scheduled an in-person luncheon Oct. 20 at the Mirro Center.

New Team Members

The Northeast Indiana Base Community Council welcomes three new team members. Nicole Keesling was appointed to the events chair position in July 2020, and Gary Dillman joined in January 2021 and will serve on the membership committee. James O’Connor joined the group in July 2020 as a board member.

As a child, Keesling knew firsthand the importance of the armed forces and the challenges to military families, as her father served at the ANG-122. Now as an adult, she works for the Office of the Allen County Recorder as a records controller, and holds a bachelor of science degree in political science from Indiana University.

Dillman is a vice president and senior wealth strategist for PNC Wealth Management in the Northern Indiana market. He is a retired officer of the United States Army Reserve and is also a member of PNC Bank’s Military Employee Business Resource Group. He earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from the Indiana Institute of Technology in Fort Wayne with concentrations in finance and economics. He is also a Certified Financial Planner practitioner and a Certified Exit Planning Advisor.

O’Connor is a partner with the law firm of Barrett McNagny and a registered civil mediator. He received his bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Emory University and his juris doctorate from Loyola University College of Law. He is admitted to practice before the Indiana state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana.

Also at its January 2021 meeting, Julie Nolan’s term as secretary expired, although she will remain as a board member. Anyone interested in the secretary position or any other role should contact Jim Garigen at

Business Relations

Grants for military entrepreneurs

The Fortitude Fund will move into Funding Phase 2 on February 25th with new funding levels and a special focus on veteran-owned businesses in Northeast Indiana. The three elements of Fortitude are Grit, Guts, and Heart - no one embodies those traits more than our service women and men. Entrepreneurs can apply for a $500 micro-grant, with potential for an additional $2,500 grant. Grantees will also be matched with a mentor, join our community of over 400 entrepreneurs from the region, and have access to exclusive events. Come see how Community, Mentors, and Money are growing a culture of accessible entrepreneurship in Northeast Indiana at

Government Relations

News from the office of U.S. Senator Mike Braun

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law on December 21, 2020. This act provides over $627 billion for national defense. Aside from ensuring our military has the resources needed for training, research, and general maintenance, these funds also provide a 3-percent pay raise for service-members. Additionally, this bill includes $34 billion in funding for defense health programs including research on traumatic brain injury, suicide, and many forms of cancer.

The Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 was signed into law on January 5, 2021. This act provided many much needed reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs, including several provisions for COVID-19 relief such as the presumption of service connection for COVID-19 for service members who contract the coronavirus within 14 days of completion of duty in response to the pandemic; protection of VA education benefits if the veteran’s schooling was interrupted due to COVID-19; and additional assistance for homeless veterans. This bill also included language to ensure that VA facilities with pharmacies or law enforcement locations have opioid return drop boxes readily available.

Membership renewals are now due

Annual membership dues for the NIBCC are up for renewal on January 1 every year. These monies allow our nonprofit organization to continue its mission to be America's most engaged military community.

Since 2011, the NIBCC has served as a catalyst in unifying the military, civilian and business communities of the greater Fort Wayne region through awareness, collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and leadership. Efforts include:

  • Connecting people to programs, building a network of support for service members and their families.
  • Promoting the six military bases and armories in the 11-county region.

   —122nd Fighter Wing – Air National Guard

   —1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry – Army National Guard

   —A/2 – 152nd Cavalry – Army National Guard

   —384th MP BN HHC – Army Reserve

   —1/330th IN REGT – Army Reserve

   —221st OD CO – Army Reserve

NIBCC is a 100-percent volunteer organization, offering members the opportunity to participate in or attend the myriad events throughout the year.

Without a paid staff, every dollar raised through memberships, donations, sponsorships and event income goes directly toward continuing NIBCC programs. If you would like to join, renew your membership, or donate to the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, please visit

And please be sure to connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

Luncheon Success!

Thanks so much to Gen. Arnold Bunch from Wright-Patterson AFB for being our guest speaker, even if he was remote. Today's event was a joint effort of the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association, Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Huge shoutout to Ceruti's Catering Inc for taking good care of us. Here are some photos

Col. Doug Schwartz (Air Force, retired) introduces guest speaker Gen. Arnold Bunch at the NIDIA/NIBCC/Regional Partnership luncheon Oct. 21 at Ceruti's Diamond Room.

Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. speaks via teleconference during the Oct. 21 luncheon at Ceruti's Diamond Room in Fort Wayne. The event was a joint effort of the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association, Northeast Indiana Base Community Council and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Eric Webster of L3Harris Corp. asks a question of Gen. Bunch during the luncheon.

Brian Evans of Invets talks with Patrick Dooley, past president of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council after the luncheon.

The entre for lunch was almond crusted chicken with green beans and potatoes. Catering by Ceruti's

Veterans Connect 211 needs updated database

With Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11, now is a good time to review and update your organization’s information in the 211 database.

Veterans Connect 211 is an affiliate of IN211, which strives to have the most comprehensive and up-to-date database of health and human service agencies across Indiana.

Be it health care support, financial assistance and counseling, legal assistance, or educational support, Veterans Connect 211 puts service members and their families in touch with agencies that can help. The program can even provide resources to help veterans and their families relocate to a new city, find housing, cope with the stress and logistics of a deployment, or transition back into civilian life.

If your business or agency provides services to U.S. military veterans, you need them to have the most current information about you. That is why Veterans Connect 211 is asking community organizations and veteran assistance groups to review and update their information in the 211 database.

Updating your information is fast and easy, and ensures people in our region can find you. 

To access the main IN211 database, go to and select “update your information.” Then follow the instructions in the Service Provider Search. Please make sure the database has your organization’s correct information, contacts, services, addresses and hours of operation.

To update your information by phone, call the IN211 resource team at (888) 211-2401 (press 2, then dial extension 200).  

Phone operators are available 24/7 to provide access to resources available to community members in northeast Indiana.

Also, Veterans Connect 211 will be running radio and TV ads in November, promoting the 211 phone line and database. Anyone wishing to donate to the marketing fund can send an email to

For more information about Veterans Connect 211, visit  For immediate access to veteran resources call or text 211.

Lt. Williams, squadron leader for the 293rd, shows off his Popeye muscles while working at the food bank. 

NIBCC and Associated Churches help USO buy refreshments for the troops

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on local food banks. At a time when demand is high due to the economic crisis, staffing needs have increased due to procedural changes. Families used to pick out their own food off the shelves, but to minimize contact, food banks are now assembling boxes of food in advance, which is more labor-intensive.

To help out during this difficult time, the Indiana Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry Regiment has deployed several service members to Community Harvest Food Bank through Dec. 31. Troops are fed breakfast and dinner at the armory, and are given MRE’s (meals ready to eat) for lunch. But to help get them through the day, USO Indiana decided to send snacks and energy drinks to the soldiers.

Starting in August, the 1/293 was supplying 30 service personnel to help at the food bank on a daily basis. This triggered a response by the USO, which was fully supported by the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, as well as Associated Churches of Fort Wayne and Allen County. The number of helpers was rolled back to 7 at the end of September, as many of the participants were deployed for other needs around the state.

To supply provisions through October, November and December, the NIBCC and Associated Churches collectively donated $525 to cover the costs of refreshments for the troops.

“We can’t thank the USO enough for what they’ve done for the National Guard, and also for us as a food bank,” said Carmen Cumberland, Community Harvest Executive President. “They provided food to fuel the soldiers, who then worked to provide food to families in need. A special thank you to Sarah and Carl Huber of the USO for working alongside us to meet the needs of the soldiers, the community and everyone who has been affected by this pandemic and economic fallout.”

COVID and Rain Don’t Stop Race For The Warrior

Postponed twice due to COVID-19 and facing a downpour of rain, the 6th Annual Race for the Warrior continued mission by welcoming hearty runners to FWA’s runway Aug. 1.

“Runners, volunteers and sponsors kept their promise to the military community and raised funds in spite of the pandemic,” said NIBCC then-President Patrick Dooley. The event raised more than $32,000 to assist military families in Northeast Indiana.

Race for the Warrior is a 5k/10k race/walk/ruck/roll that takes place on the runway of the Fort Wayne International Airport. This year’s event raised $32,280.68, with proceeds benefiting the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council's Military Support Fund and other year-round programs for members of all branches of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and military families. This fund provides one-time grants to local military members for emergency needs, allowing the service member to focus on the mission of serving our country and communities.

This year’s event served as an example for how to handle a socially distanced race in the midst of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan to safely open Indiana’s economy while protecting Hoosier health during the pandemic. Runners were socially distanced at the starting line, groups were separated into five heats and participants were required to wear face coverings when not racing, eating or drinking. Also, instead of having one large tent with all the food, drinks, and entertainment, organizers had each activity in a separate booth to accommodate social distancing needs.

A total of 415 registrants signed up for the race, with 256 participating — with 25 runners enrolling the day of the event and six people choosing to participate in the virtual run option instead of racing with the group.

The winner of the 5k race was Michael Cheezan of Wauseon, Ohio, with a clocked time of 15:57.5. The fastest woman was Hidi Gaff of Fort Wayne, who came in 8th overall with a time of 19:19.9.

In the 10k race, Fg Garcia of Goshen, came in first at 35:07.1. The fastest woman in that race was Lisa Roe of Angola who ranked 5th overall with a time of 44:19.7.

There were 10 paralympians from the US Men's and Women's National Goalball Team. First place went to Elizabeth Daugherty of Tucson with a time of 1:04:38.

The event was co-chaired by CPT Eric Flores (Army, Ret.) and SGT Jim Garigen (Army, Medically Ret.). After this year’s race, Garigen stepped down and will be replaced by MSgt Joe Lewis (Indiana Air National Guard/previously Marine Corps), who served as logistics chair this year.

The 7th Annual Race for the Warrior is scheduled for July 24, 2021 at 9 a.m. at the Fort Wayne International Airport.

For more information on Race for the Warrior, visit To learn more about the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, visit

Gen. Bunch headlines October speaker luncheon

Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., will deliver the keynote address at the next quarterly speaker luncheon, scheduled for Oct. 21 at Ceruti's Diamond Room. Gen. Bunch is the Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

He is responsible for installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services and sustainment of virtually every major Air Force weapon system. The command employs approximately 80,000 people and manages $60 billion of budget authority annually.

He was commissioned in 1984 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and completed undergraduate pilot training in 1985. He completed operational assignments as an instructor, evaluator and aircraft commander for the B-52 Stratofortress. Following graduation from the Air Force Test Pilot School, Bunch conducted developmental testing in the B-2 Spirit and B-52 and served as an instructor in each. Additionally, he has commanded at the squadron, group, wing, and center levels. Prior to his current assignment, he was the military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

This event will be co-sponsored with the Northeast Indiana Defense Industry Association (NIDIA) and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Ceruti's Diamond Ballroom is located at 6601 Innovation Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46818. Doors open from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $18.50 and available through Eventbrite.



After a regional search for the right leader to take over the reins of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, the board of directors named longtime board member Carl Huber as its president. Huber was sworn in at the group’s meeting Sept. 9. His term will run through March 2022. He has served on the board since 2014.

Huber replaces outgoing president Patrick Dooley who will remain on the board as immediate past president.

“Carl brings a wealth of business and nonprofit experience to his role as president,” Dooley said. “His years of service as an NIBCC board member, combined with his work with the USO, will serve our organization as we continue to bridge the civilian and business community with our military community.”

Huber worked for 32 years at WaterFurnace International and recently retired as vice president of quality and sustainability. He now works part time in that same capacity for WaterFurnace. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tulsa. He is a board member of Northeast Indiana Honor Flight and former president and CEO of USO Indiana. He currently serves on the USO Advisory Board. He was honored this past year with the American Society of Heating Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers’ Distinguished Public Service Award for his work with these organizations.  

“I am humbled and deeply honored to be elected president of the NIBCC,” Huber said. “The NIBCC has special meaning to me as one of the most respected nonprofits in Indiana. It has a very passionate and dedicated board of directors that wants to support active-duty military personnel. I hope to continue that tradition to expand the outreach and synergy within the region.” 

Also during the meeting, the board expanded its executive committee and elected board member Jim Garigen to serve as member-at-large. Garigen served as the co-chair for the organization’s Race for the Warrior fundraiser for the past four years and founded Invisible Vets, an organization that serves to reduce veteran homelessness.

Other appointments made that day were Nicole Keesling as events chair, and Lisa Mungovan as membership chair. 

Since 2011, the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council has served as a catalyst in unifying the military, civilian and business communities of the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana. Its mission is to create the most engaged military region in the United States through awareness, collaboration, advocacy, workforce development and leadership. That mission is accomplished by connecting people to programs, building a network of support for service members and their families.

For more information on the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council, visit

Northeast Indiana Base Community Council

P.O. Box 10306

Fort Wayne, IN 46851

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