MED part of Shenandoah Valley community

Published March 24, 2011
Col. Ron Light, MED commander, speaks during a February meeting of the Lions Club in Winchester. (USACE Photo by Kendal Smith)

“We are your neighbors and your partners in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Col. Ron Light, MED commander, during an International Lions Club meeting in Winchester. “I am here to share with you how the Middle East District operates in our nation’s interests in an important part of the world. But, I want you to understand that even though we oversee significant construction activities overseas, we consider ourselves to be vital members of the community here as well.”

More than 40 Lions Club members and guests attended the luncheon Feb. 8 to find out more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers district operating out of their backyard. Hosted by Caz Zuckerman, local chapter president, Col. Light detailed MED’s impact on the local economy, and also discussed the district’s Middle East mission. Emphasizing the organization’s stability and substantive contributions to the area, the commander pointed first to MED’s annual salaries totaling more than $29.5 million. Taking into account a modest community multiplying effect, the region’s economy is boosted by almost $56 million due to the district’s headquarters being located in Winchester.

The USACE Deployment Center also processes outbound and returning deployees to the Middle East, providing direct local income of another $1.7 million annually for area lodging and dining. In addition, local jobs created or supported by MED’s work force are estimated to total nearly 600, and district personnel contributed more than $72,000 to the United Way last year. Col. Light noted that MED employees also serve in many regional civic, veterans, church and school groups.

The meeting concluded with a question and answer session, during which many Lions Club members inquired about various aspects of MED’s operations, including employment opportunities. The district’s management, said Col. Light, is always interested in hiring the most qualified candidates for available positions. Federal hiring regulations ultimately determine the eligibility of candidates, but MED is proud to hire locally whenever possible.

Kendal Smith

Release no. 13-029