WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — "Every Day in Central Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day," according to the military community here in Central Georgia.
Four years ago, Matthew and Ashley Eller moved from a military base in California to Robins Air Force Base, making Central Georgia their new home. Moving your family across the country comes with challenges, but Matthew says this community took away those challenges.
"To have the understanding and the empathy to be able to reach out and help us and know that it would really help us to have that information beforehand, even outside of a military agency, it was outstanding," says Matthew Eller.
The Eller family is one of many examples of why the Association of Defense Communities honored Central Georgia with this year's Great American Defense Community Award.
So what does this award mean? It means Central Georgia's military communities work to improve the quality of life for service members and military families every day.
Central Georgia is one of five regions in the country honored. Chrissy Miner, 21st Century Partnership President and CEO, says, "To all the folks that have been doing this for so many years and all they got was a mere, 'Thank you,' but now again, the nation knows that middle Georgia always comes to the plate to help people."
The Eller family says no other military base they've lived around shows support like Central Georgians do.
"One of the first things they ask if it comes up is if you're military, and then they say, 'Hey, can we help you do this, can we help you do that?' and you're like, 'Yes, please. No one's ever asked me that before,'" says Matthew Eller.
Other communities around the nation to get this award were Bay County, Florida; Clovis, New Mexico; Greater Columbia Region, South Carolina; and North Country Fort Drum, New York.