The 96th Test Wing of the Eglin Air Force Base is teaming up with local community leaders to propose the construction of a military family care complex in Crestview, Florida.
- The complex will include a medical clinic, a child development center, and various military support agencies, all aimed at providing assistance to servicemembers and their families who reside in the area.
According to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Geraghty, 96th TW commander, “Supporting our Team Eglin service members and the families who provide the strong foundation for our force is critical to recruitment, retention, and readiness. Our military community expands beyond the gates – it makes sense to expand our support services as well.”
The proposed medical clinic would be an outpatient facility, open to active-duty members, their dependents, and veterans. The child development center will address the needs of military families in the area, specifically by filling the gap in childcare services that extends more than 20 miles beyond the north end of the Eglin Test and Training Complex.
Crestview has grown by 35% since 2010, largely due to the military presence in the area. The city provides housing opportunities for service members and their families, and the proposed complex would not only provide more childcare options for military families, but also help alleviate traffic and improve the quality of life by serving families where they live, according to Tim Bolduc, Crestview city manager.
The ETTC is home to units from every branch of the military, including more than a dozen wing-equivalent organizations. The 96th TW, as Eglin’s host wing, supports more than 19,000 military, civilian, and contractor personnel, as well as 43,000 dependents located across the Florida panhandle.
“We are very grateful for our relationship with Eglin and love and support military and the mission of our local bases,” said Bolduc. “Crestview stands ready to help with this project in any way we can.”
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The wing is also considering options to base helping agency services such as Military and Family Life Counseling, a Military Family Readiness Council, School Liaison Office, and an Exceptional Family Member Program within the complex.
“One of my priorities is to focus on ways to take even better care of Team Eglin service members and their families – and we’re taking services to them to make that happen,” Geraghty emphasized. “We will continue to listen and lead on issues that are critical to stability and to the unique challenges of military life.”
The military family care complex is one of many solutions Eglin leadership is pursuing to ease child and health care burdens many military families are faced with. The wing is making a substantial investment in renovations, repair, and maintenance of existing facilities to increase childcare capacity on the installation, according to Geraghty.
Efforts also include:
- Hiring additional CDC caregivers to open more classrooms on Eglin main.
- Making subsidies more readily available for families who use off-base childcare facilities in Crestview and other local communities.
- Expanding in-home family childcare services.
The wing is also tracking a commercial childcare provider working to increase childcare capacity in the communities surrounding the installation. The provider is preparing to break ground on a childcare facility in Crestview and one in Navarre to meet the growing requirements to support military families from all services.
The Crestview facility is on schedule to open in the Fall of 2023.
Geraghty concluded, “We’re fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most supportive communities I’ve seen – everywhere I go, I’m asked the same question, ‘How can we help?’ Initiatives like the military family care complex are a testament to those relationships.”