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‘Robins Strong’ Pulls Together an Air Force Community in Crisis

Posted on Apr 03, 2020 06:42 pm

A stay-at-home order was set to start in Georgia Friday evening, about three weeks after the first known case was announced there.

Within days of the virus’s arrival in Georgia, the Robins Regional Chamber in Warner Robins, Ga., home to Robins Air Force Base, had launched its Robins Strong initiative, including a resource website that has become the primary source of information for the sprawling, 150,000-person community that doesn’t have its own TV station or daily newspaper.

“Every business wants to know, ‘Am I essential? Can I go get my mail? Can I still do X and Y? Is the post office open? Is the liquor store open? You know, lots of questions that we don’t have answers to,” chamber CEO April Bragg told CMSI.

The chamber has shifted its focus from events and fundraising to supporting members and providing information.

“We made a hard pivot to fill the gap,” Bragg said. “And, so, it’s, ‘What do you need? How are you doing? How can we help?’”

There are confirmed cases at Robins Air Force Base, where more than half of the workforce are civilians, but there is little information coming from the Air Force, Bragg said.

“There is no doubt that they have been handling things very internally, so you don’t really hear a lot,” she said. “The impacts of what’s happening have really just sort of caused a rumble through the community, but it’s quiet.”

Bragg does find inspiration in how the community is coming together and hopes that will be a lasting impact of the crisis.

“It’s taken something like this to really bring people together that didn’t know one another, that didn’t think that they would have anything in common,” she said. “And we’re seeing these repeated common themes of humanity and looking out for one another and the greater good. It has been revolutionary. It truly has.”

Photo by Robins Regional Chamber, which created a profile picture filter for local Facebook users

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Post courtesy of the Association of Defense Communities

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